Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez Delivered a Moving Speech for 2020 Graduates

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez sent words of encouragement to New York City students graduating in unprecedented times.

Yesterday, Lopez and Rodriguez partook in a virtual graduation ceremony for which they prepared a keynote address for the city’s 2020 graduates. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and it still being unsafe for large crowds to gather, many graduates across the country have attended virtual graduations to celebrate their academic success.

“Class of 2020, we’re so excited and honored to be celebrating this great moment with you,” began Rodriguez during the pair’s joint speech. “Jen and I are both New Yorkers, first-generation Americans whose immigrant parents worked hard to give us an opportunity to live the American dream.”

“We know you’ve worked very hard to get here and that you’re family, friends, and teachers must be so proud of the young people you’ve become,” said Lopez. “You know we’ve had our ups and downs, but we continue to fight the fight.”

Lopez continued on, mentioning how no other graduation class can truly relate to the one of 2020, as the former students face uncertainty amid a health crisis, as well as a heightened time of racial unrest in the country. She later reminded the graduates that their influence is powerful and that acts like voting, organizing, protesting, and being outspoken on injustice are all factors that can shape their pathways as future leaders.

“We both remember being in your position with an uncertain future ahead of us. But what we know now is we weren’t really in your shoes,” said Lopez. “We didn’t have to celebrate our graduation at home, or watch our teachers and graduation speakers on a screen. We didn’t have to learn about our loved ones getting sick, and we didn’t have protests for racial equality taking place in our streets every day.

“As the events of recent weeks have shown, your generation is facing a series of unique challenges. … With every great challenge comes a great opportunity. And like so many things in life, this starts with accepting responsibility. … To graduate really means to elevate, to rise to the next level, to step up to something better,” continued Lopez.

“The only answer to systemic racism, inequality, and hate is systemic love and acceptance. We need to speak up and speak love every chance we get. We need to get involved. March in the streets, sign petitions, make phone calls, volunteer at charities, support minority-owned businesses. You can’t help your community unless you are really experiencing life with your community,” she later said.

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Class of 2020!!! I know this has been an incredibly difficult and strange time for all of you. Your educational journey came to an unexpected and abrupt halt. The tradition of wearing your cap and gown at a ceremony and celebrating your hard-earned achievement with your peers has been stripped away. . I understand your frustration, but this will only make you stronger. This is just the beginning of an amazing lifelong journey for you. In this most memorable of years, this graduating class will emerge and make its impact. This is your chance to be the positive force that 2020 needs. You all can make the world a better place. . Jen and I are so proud of you all and we wanted to congratulate you on your spectacular accomplishment. Join us tonight at 7 pm ET for a special message on channel PIX 11 in New York or live streaming on TikTok, Twitter and YouTube!! 👏🏼🎓🙌🏼❤️

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Lopez concluded their address by encouraging students to continue to fight for the change they want to see in the world, and to remember 2020 as the year that those changes began. “You may have earned your degree today, but you never stop being a student. Make an effort to learn more and more every single day. … Change does not come unless you push for it and work for it.”

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