CNN anchor Don Lemon had a simple reminder as he congratulated the 2020 graduating class of Point Scholars: “Your future is full of promise.” During the virtual ceremony on Tuesday, Lemon said, “You are stepping up and stepping forward to create a more just and fair tomorrow.”
Lemon was just one of the celebrities and community leaders who provided the commencement remarks for the New York-based Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship granting organization for LGBTQ+ students. It serves to empower LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic potential while at school.
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“Recognize your magnificence, your power and your grace,” said longtime LGBTQ ally Judith Light (“The Politician”). “Let those qualities, along with kindness and generosity, that you call upon move our world into a brighter future.”
Light recognized that the students were graduating during Pride Month and said, “Every month, every day, every minute should be Pride Month.”
News anchor Tamron Hall urged the Point scholars to “embrace your authentic self.” Hall, an active voice in the Black Lives Matter protests, called for change, telling the graduates, “Keep it raw. Keep it real. But most importantly, keep true to yourself.”
Annette Bening, whose son Stephen is transgender, quoted Professor Richard Feynman. “I’d say study what you love in the most original, irreverent and undisciplined way possible. Don’t forget you are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself continuously.”
The Oscar nominee added, “You are coming of age during a foundational change, whether it applies to systemic racism or gender and sexuality-based discrimination. I encourage you to speak to truth and to power in whatever feels right to you. Keep your doors of perception open to the wonders of the word.”
Lauren Patten, who recently won the 2020 Drama Desk award for outstanding featured actress in a musical for her work in “Jagged Little Pill,” performed “Ironic” from the Alanis Morissette show.
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