Harris shares her India born mother’s advice with the Class of 2021

Kamala Harris graduation speech

‘You have the strength to get through anything,’ she tells students graduating during Covid pandemic.

Congratulating the class of 2021 on their perseverance in earning their high school diplomas during the coronavirus pandemic, Vice President Kamala Harris, shared some advice that her India born mother gave her.

“She said, ‘You know Kamala, you may be the first to be many things, but make sure you’re not the last,'” Harris said speaking to several high school seniors via video conference on Sunday.

“I couldn’t be more proud of you guys,” she told the seniors. “The things that you all have accomplished, you give me such inspiration,” said the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father.

“You now know, that you have what it takes to get through pretty much anything. So when you come up against an obstacle, when you experience a setback — and you will, we all do — remember the resilience that you showed this past year. The determination.”

Remember, that you have the strength to get through anything,” Harris said during “Graduation 2021: A CNN Special Event” that aired Sunday night.

“You do not have to get through anything alone. You are not alone. We are all in this together and when we look out for one another, everybody is better off.”

During the event, Harris also spoke with four student leaders from across the US about how proud she was of what the Class of 2021 has accomplished, telling them: “You give me such inspiration.”

“What’s up Oakland?” Harris said with a chuckle to Ahmed Muhammad, a senior graduating from Oakland Technical High School. Muhammad, his school’s first Black male Valedictorian, thanked Harris and told the vice president he included portions of her historic phrase “I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last” in his graduation speech.

“That’s exactly right, that’s exactly right. And I said that in my speech. It’s advice my mother gave me. She said you know, ‘Kamala you may be the first to be many things, but make sure you’re not the last,’ ”

Harris recalled. “Sometimes you’re going to be in a room and you’re going to feel like you’re the only one like you in that room. The only one who looks like you or the only one who’s had your life experience but what I want you four to remember and you have to hear me on this, we will all be in that room with you, applauding you on.”

“Go forth and lead,” she told the class of 2021 noting young people “will help determine what our world will look like on the other side” of the pandemic.

“You are not the first to shoulder this responsibility,” Harris told students. “Throughout our nation’s history, students and young people have helped shape that industry and that history.”

“We need you. We need you to be as kind as you are courageous. We need you to be as ambitious as you are curious. We need you to dream, and we need you to do.”

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