Pelosi's message to grads: Be disruptors

Lauren Schneiderman

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) encouraged graduates of the University of California Berkeley to be disruptors, using their knowledge and technology to shake up the economic system.

“Being called a disruptor is a high compliment,” Pelosi said in prepared remarks Saturday. “You here at Berkeley are already disruptors in many ways.”

Pelosi’s speech came nearly 50 years after students led by Mario Savio occupied a Berkeley building and launched the “free speech movement,” which sought to lift university bans on political activities.

“Now, it’s all about you — what you can do with your freedom to speak out, with the tools of our time: Instagram and YouTube, Facebook and Twitter,” Pelosi said.

The California lawmaker urged graduates to tackle problems with income disparity, education quality and climate change. She told them their peers around the world will help, and there’s no need to wait for leaders to act.

Pelosi also touched on campaign finance, saying the Supreme Court “equates money with speech, opening the floodgates to secret, special interest money in our elections.” But graduates could disrupt the system.

“Let’s restore power to the voices of the people, not the pockets of the privileged few,” she said.

Pelosi closed her speech with hopeful words: “My wish is that you will be disruptors when necessary, and that you enjoy every moment of it.”

 

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