Cory Booker, who spoke at Stanford University’s commencement this past Sunday, had four graduations from college and grad school — twice at Stanford. I was tipped to the power of his speech by a tweet last night, and stayed up way too late to listen to the whole thing, which runs almost an hour. But it was worth it.
Booker told the class of 2012 what his father told him at all his graduations: “You are the physical manifestation of a conspiracy of love. The people whose names you don’t even know, who struggled for you, fought for you, sweat for you, volunteered for you — you are here because of them. Do not forget that.”
Booker’s most moving anecdote was his description of running toward gunshots in Newark, and holding a dying boy in his arms, trying to staunch the flow of blood, until the ambulance came. The boy died.
Booker told the graduates to embrace discomfort: “People who get comfortable of body get fat, people who get comfortable of mind and intellect get dull, people who get comfortable in their spirit , they miss what they were created for. They were created to magnify the glory of this world.”