As this year's graduates embark on a new chapter of their lives during a global pandemic and nationwide calls for justice, Beyoncé delivered a moving speech to the Class of 2020 to congratulate them on this significant accomplishment and to urge them to "keep pushing" for change.
Beyoncé began her address on YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" special on Sunday by acknowledging that this year's graduates are celebrating this incredible milestone during crisis. "You have arrived here in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic, and worldwide expression of outrage of the senseless killing of yet another unarmed black human being," she said. "And you still made it. We are so proud of you."
Addressing the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor — just three of many innocent Black lives taken as a result of police brutality and systemic racism — Beyoncé thanked this year's graduating class for protesting in their honor. "Thank you for using your collective voice and letting the world know that Black Lives Matter. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have left us all broken," she said. "It has left the entire country searching for answers. We've seen that our collective hearts when you put to positive action can start the wheels of change. Real change has stared with you."
Beyoncé also spoke at length about her experiences with starting her own business and the rejection she has faced as a performer. Although she warned graduates that they will also face rejection of their own, she urged them to use that as motivation. "Every thought in your mind is powerful," she said. "Every word you speak is powerful. Every action you take has consequences for yourself and your community. Look what you've been able to do in the last 14 days."
In the wake of Floyd's death, Beyoncé has used her platform to demand justice, urging her followers to sign petitions in his honor. A few days later, Beyoncé applauded protestors and urged them to stay "aligned and focused" in the continuous call for justice, echoing that sentiment again during her speech on Sunday.
"We've seen the power of the collective," Beyoncé said during her address to the Class of 2020. "We've seen what happens when we join for the same cause. Please continue to be the voice for the voiceless."
Beyoncé ended her commencement speech on an inspirational note, urging graduates to "keep pushing." "Keep pushing. Forget the fear, forget the doubt," she said. "Keep investing, and keep betting on yourself. And congratulations."