Each year at commencement, the graduating class and faculty choose three students—one from each degree program—to offer words of blessing, calling, and conviction. Here, we’re sharing the full video and transcript of the exhortation given by Danielle Castillejo, Master of Counseling Psychology to her fellow graduates. You can also watch the speeches from Mercedes Robinson, Master of Theology and Culture, and Megan Doner, Master of Divinity.

2020 Graduates: No matter where you’re at, to each of you.

February darkness
March curveballs
April strikes
May day is June deaths
July outrage
August outrage
Coronavirus quarantine shutdown
Rolls of toilet paper plundered

Ahmaud Arbury
George Floyd
Breonna Taylor
Ray Lewis
Tony McDade
Manuel Ellis
Elijah McLane
Jacob Blake
And too many to name

Black lives matter
Immigrants and fire, pandemic exploits
Smoke that meth or September opiates
Or whatever is your choice
Drug ambition that’s our situation
Protest that shit or don’t
We’ll be sitting by
Listing by preaching by
What we be for the least of these

Out my kitchen window
Birds pitching endless fits
Violent callous society
Looting politely
News flash the Dow won’t crash
Number 45 all [chomped?] aglow
While those birds billow
Why are you burning my world
Through summer scorched skin it begins
Old evil powers seem to win
I push hard to go through
To be she who shows thoroughly
Hopes more than you’ll ever know

Trauma don’t discriminate
You and me might dissociate
Workaholics high functioning healers
But emotions inherently
Bodily relationships
Inherently bodily believers
An engagement with our bodies
The wounds persisting trauma
For our communal body persisting

Didn’t know if we would be
Reckless pain or drowned in superfluous glee
Opposite ends collide
Etched with a shroud to cloud
Barbed words from furious skies

Liars lied in the name of
Freedom a gender reveal
In the name of freedom
Two sons for planet earth
Or when you give birth
The earth order to conceal
Not reveal its brown as blackness
Immigrants valueless and
Justice is racist supremacist

I implore you resist
Less we divest
Don’t betray these your brothers sisters
The one you don’t know
Because they’re telling us get off my neck
In the land of the free where you aren’t free
Cast off the chaff
Will you finally see?
Grief doesn’t end it
Begins again repeats again and again

We are off a truly modest
Grad ambition
Paid position
Agency my agency or yours
We are change agents

Hungry mouths
Minds wound
Pump jumped up on
Literary academic disillusion
Stories for glory stories
With glory in the ripping red blood
Coming from black brown yellow red
Some white
But don’t forget
It’s red blood spilling

I’m not checking
You we get to begin in the midst of protest
Offer honor containment
Trust rest it’s us the someone in a system
That continues to perpetrate injustices
We are the someone who didn’t see
It’s us who need to see

We must have a sense of justice
Sense of radical decency
This will no longer stand
Not for us, I propose
You chose to love those in agony
I know for you and me will be witnessing
I reckon it’s the now not yet
Because all ashes aren’t beauty yet

Enter madness
People not because we are heroes
But we have tasted enough healing
I’m believing treacherous terrain
Hold faith hope love
Its refrain a hope
It doesn’t rush us to a resurrection life
Complacent a hope that says
I will remain adjacent

Notorious RBG and Chadwick’s best
With John Lewis imbue us
To fight for things we care about
Do it in a while leading a way
So others will join us
So you be more change
But don’t leave any more
We can’t bear that anymore

Let’s bring our faces bodies
Comfort together side-by-side
Besides this is the work of the spirit
On our behalf all the time
And hope does not put us to shame
Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
Through the Holy Spirit
Who has been given to us

So will you put yourself in the narrative
Forgive live bold
Free wild fight
With insight
Stand in margins
Don’t give up even
When you mess up

And I’ll leave it with Dr. Allender
Take seriously the story that God
Has given you to live
It’s no mere phase
Let your story set us