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Biden Says Morehouse Should Hear Dissent Because Democracy Is ‘Still The Way’

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President Biden speaks to graduating students at the Morehouse College commencement Sunday, May 19, 2024, in Atlanta.

(CTN News) – President Joseph Biden pledged the Morehouse College class of 2024 that he would defend democracy and freedom against “extremist forces” that threatened the country’s spirit and African American voters’ interests.

Delivered six months before the general election, the speech was permeated with religious themes of suffering and resilience. It also repeated Joe Biden’s warning to his followers about the consequences of a second Trump victory.

The president remarked, “They don’t see you in the future of America, but they’re wrong.” I think history is written, not unwritten. Black history is American history.

On May 8, the president is expected to give the Morehouse College graduation speech.

There have been nationwide graduation ceremonies postponed due to student protests against the Gaza crisis. Polls indicate that younger and African American voters may not be as optimistic about the president’s chances of reelection.

In addition to expressing sympathy to individuals who were troubled by the direction the nation was going in, Biden acknowledged that “dissent regarding America’s role in the world” was legitimate in the interest of democracy.

“That is my commitment to you,” he said. “To show you democracy, democracy democracy — it’s still the way.”

During his current tour, he will speak at Brown v. Board plaintiffs’, Divine Nine’s, and Black Greek Letter Organizations’ dinners. He will also preside over an NAACP dinner in Detroit, Michigan.

In recent weeks, protests and encampments have been taking place on college and university campuses across the country.

Though there haven’t been any on-campus occupations or physical altercations with the police, Morehouse has been the scene of student protests. Though there weren’t many demonstrators outside the inauguration, there weren’t any significant interruptions.

Morehouse College president David Thomas declared last week he would rather suspend classes than jail protesters.

“My choice would be to have 20 people arrested on national television on the Morehouse campus, taken away in zip ties during graduation, before we reached that point, I would conclude the ceremony,” he told the media.

These were unwarranted and undeserved worries. Had Biden spoken at a typical college commencement, the audience would have responded in a similar manner, even without the media and security guards.

During Biden’s speech, approximately 400 graduates got up from their chairs and wore keffiyehs in protest of the president.

Following the event, Morehouse praised the graduating class for their measured reply to Biden.

As the world watches, an act of peaceful activism occurs on our campus to continue a critical conversation, the institution stated. “We are proud of the resilient class of 2024’s strategic, communicative, and coordinated efforts as a 414-member unit in silent protest.”

During his farewell speech, Morehouse College valedictorian DeAngelo Fletcher discussed worldwide combat, focusing on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

This is the first time we’ve heard the global community sing a song that transcends language and culture, he said. The Gaza Strip needs an immediate and permanent ceasefire, in my opinion, as a Morehouse Man, if not as a human being.”

The school was well-received despite students, faculty members, and alumni protesting during Biden’s graduation speech.

Dr. Tiffany Johnson, fifty, was equally thrilled to have met Vice President Biden. At 4:30 a.m., she arrived on the college green for her son’s graduation.

Having him speak to Morehouse graduates, to inspire them, is phenomenal. He’s the leader of the free world.

Johnson said Biden’s talk was a great way to highlight his accomplishments and that African Americans who disagreed with him were just “bandwagon followers.”

The vice president talked about investing in Black communities, supporting Black-owned businesses, and protecting voting rights.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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