Greetings to graduates across the nation.
This is Lady Gaga.
Two weeks ago, I recorded a very different commencement speech to help celebrate the wonderful accomplishment that is your graduation.
My speech at that time reflected and referenced the shared experience of the COVID-19 global pandemic
that's devastated the world this year and how important it is to be a force of kindness in the world
as you take the next step forward in your promising lives.
My speech was recorded before the murder of George Floyd,
and the subsequent activist movement protesting police brutality and systemic racism in this country.
While my original commencement speech may not be directly relevant to what this country needs most right now,
I wish to tell you today that although there is much to be sad about, there is also much to be celebrated.
You are watching what is a pivotal moment in this country's evolution.
You're watching society change in a deeply important way.
This change will be slow, and we will have to be patient.
But change will happen, and it will be for the better.
In rewriting my speech, I asked myself how I viewed racism in America as it relates to graduation.
When I looked past the rage that I feel about the systemic oppression and physical and emotional violence
that has tortured the black community endlessly, my mind turned to nature.
When I think about racism in America, I imagine a broad forest filled densely with tall trees, trees as old as this country itself,
trees that were planted with racist seeds, trees that grew prejudiced branches, and oppressive leaves,
and mangled roots that buried and entrenched themselves deep within the soil,
forming a web so well developed and so entangled that pushes back when we try to look clearly at how it really works.
This forest is where we live.
It's who we are.
It's the morals and value system that we, as a society, have upheld and emboldened for centuries.
I make this analogue between racism and nature in this country because it is as pervasive and as real as nature.
It is some part of everything the light touches.
But in this moment, all of us are being invited to challenge that system and think about how to effect real change.
I believe in my heart that the people who are going to make this change happen are listening to me speak right now.
I know this is true because it is you who are the seeds of the future.
You are the seeds that will grow into a new and different forest
that is far more beautiful and loving than the one we live in today.