Barack & Michelle Obama Address Class of 2020: Do Not Despair — 'You All Are Exactly What We Need'

“Graduates, it’s all important,” Mrs. Obama said, “and we need every bit of it.”

“This is how you can finish the work that the generations before you have started: By staying open and hopeful, even in the tough times,” she said, “by channeling that discomfort you feel into activism and a democracy that was designed to respond to those who vote.”

“It’s not always pretty, this democracy of ours — trust me, I know,” President Obama said. “It can be loud and messy and sometimes depressing.”

And it can improve.

“America changed, and has always changed, because young people dared to hope,” the president said. “Democracy isn’t about relying on some charismatic leader to make changes from on high. It’s about finding hope in ourselves and creating it in others. Especially in a time like this.”

“Graduates, you all are exactly what we need right now,” Mrs. Obama said, “and for the years and decades to come.”

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