Commencement_keynotes - Not for reproduction or...

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Not for reproduction or distribution without written consent of the author. María Ochoa, Ph.D. © 2007 The Dignity of Artful Living Chicana/o – Latina/o Graduation Keynote Address June 14, 2002 California State University Hayward Buenas noches. Good evening. Congratulations to the graduates. Felicidades to the families and loved ones assembled here. It is an honor to be among you, as we celebrate your accomplishments in this twenty-third year of Chicana/o – Latina/o graduation at Cal State Hayward. Tonight we give honor to the graduates. You reached for the moon and are now among the stars. No doubt there were times when the completion of your studies seemed impossibly far away. However, your moment of success is here. Tonight we give thanks to the enablers. Damos agradecemos a todos los abuelas/os, madres y padres, esposas/os, hermanas/os, madrinas y padrinos que están aquí esta noche. You have given your graduate the love and strength to accomplish that which we celebrate here. You have sacrificed so that they might excel. While I was thinking about the significance of our celebration tonight, I was reminded of a story written by Eduardo Galeano. When I was an undergraduate student, I came to know and love the work of Galeano. A lyrical historian, he lived for decades in political exile from his native land of Uruguay. In his writings, he expresses the painful estrangement that comes from living far from one’s home and family. His stories are filled with a yearning for the warmth and comfort of living among loved ones, of walking down familiar streets and of being embraced by friends and family. His artistry enabled me to live with the alienation that I felt while in college. In his quietly eloquent book, Libro de los Abrazos , The Book of Embraces , Galeano presents a series of enchanting parables, anecdotes, dreams, and autobiography. It seems appropriate to mark this occasion with a reading from that book. “The Dignity of Art” I write for those who cannot read me, the downtrodden, and the ones who have been waiting on line for centuries to get into history. I write, too, for those who cannot read a book or afford to buy one. When I begin to lose heart, it does me good to recall a lesson in the dignity of art, which I learned years ago at a theater in Assisi, Italy. Helena and I had gone to see an evening of pantomime. No one else showed up. The two of us were the entire audience. When the lights dimmed the usher and the ticket seller joined us. Despite the fact that there were more people on stage than in the audience, the actors worked as hard as if they were basking in the glory of a full house on opening night. They put their hearts and souls into the performance and it was marvelous. Our applause shook the empty hall. We clapped until our hands were sore. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I believe that this story is Galeano’s way of urging us to make the most of what
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course SOCS 100W at San Jose State University .

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Commencement_keynotes - Not for reproduction or...

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