As commencement season wraps up, we’re still coming across emotional, heartfelt speeches that make us want to call our moms and thank them for everything they’ve done. This year, the Class of 2016 did not disappoint at their graduation ceremonies, with many centering their speeches on their touching life-stories. Like, Harvard graduate Dianisbeth Acquie, who gave a moving graduation speech last week on her Latinidad and her journey from Brooklyn to Cambridge.
While her great-grandmother thought that she’d leave her culture behind after getting a taste of Harvard, her classmates made sure to tell her what they thought about her background. “I spent months haunted by what a few classmates implied when they said to me: you are here because you are a minority. They casually, callously sent me reeling. Was I only here because I was a minority, a Latina? Did those aspects overshadow my passions, my talents, and my dreams?” Acquie said, according to Fusion.
In those four years, she found her answer: “I am here and I am successful because I am a Latina.” Acquie graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and Latino Studies. She served on many Latino organizations at Harvard including the Fuerza Latina chapter, the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference, run by Latinas Unidas, and the Harvard Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program. She eventually found her footing, but she didn’t get there alone.
“This diploma, which will hang orgullosamente in my living room, does not belong solely to me,” Acquie added. “It has my name stitched into it, but it tells nothing of the needle and thread that sewed it. This diploma was not only achieved through the silken paragraphs that I learned to write in a classroom with students who were nursed on words like dissonance and juxtaposition. This diploma belongs to my mother, whose tears could have swept the world clean on the day when she left her only daughter in a strange dorm room in an unfamiliar city, and to my father who traipsed up and down the East Coast from New York to Cambridge a dozen times to bring me home. It belongs to my parents, who sacrificed so much so that their daughter could succeed in this country and taste at last the apple pie promised in the American Dream.”
Read the rest of her moving speech here, and be prepared to shed more tears.