Pelosi tells Brown University graduates to unite in deeply divided country

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) invoked former President Lincoln and the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) during her commencement speech at Brown University on Sunday, calling on graduates to help unify the country.

“I urge you to bring this spirit of unity to whatever you do,” Pelosi said.

“It’s no secret that you graduate in a country deeply divided socially, politically, culturally. And there’s even more dangerous factions [that] seek to dispense with democracy altogether, but, graduates, you are our hope,” she added.

Pelosi also accepted an honorary doctorate during the ceremony, joking with the graduates that she is now their classmate.

During her remarks, Pelosi referenced the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y, and an array of other top issues for Democrats.

“In the months since the insurrection, we’ve seen further assaults on democracy,” Pelosi said. “Shameful campaigns of voter suppression and election nullification. A Supreme Court poised to erase a woman’s right to decide and threaten even more privacy rights, including marriage equality. We can’t let that happen.”

Despite describing the country as facing “dark and anti-democratic forces,” Pelosi struck an optimistic tone in her address, pointing to waves of youth-driven activism on issues such as gun violence and climate change.

Pelosi also complimented the school’s efforts to support Ukrainian students following Russia’s invasion of the country and Afghan students after the U.S. withdrawal from the country last year.

“Hope remains democracy’s most powerful weapon against oppression, against cynicism, against hatred,” she said.

Pelosi told graduates she had never expected to run for public office, encouraging them to be ready to “take the leap of faith.”

“When that happens, the best advice is be yourself,” Pelosi said. “You are the authenticity America needs. Be who you are.”

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