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Friday morning, I was honored to deliver the commencement address for the graduating class at Morgan State University, a historically black college in Baltimore.

Like most graduation speeches, I talked about the twists and turns my life took to get where I am today. How my daddy had a heart attack when I was 12. How my mother saved our home by getting a minimum wage job at Sears at a time when a minimum wage job could pay a mortgage.

And then I spoke about something powerfully important: how different that story would have been today – and how different that story could have been for a family that wasn’t white.

Watch a short clip of the graduation speech and share it with your friends on Facebook. This is a conversation we must have in this country:

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Not on Facebook? Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

As a country, we need to stop pretending that the same doors open for everyone. Because they don’t.

Hard work matters – but the rules matter, too.

I’m not a person of color. And I haven’t lived the life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that black and brown people in this country may have experienced just because of the color of their skin.

Rules matter, and our government – not just individuals within the government, but the government itself – has systematically discriminated against people of color in this country.

There are two sets of rules: one for the wealthy and the well-connected. And one for everybody else. Two sets of rules: one for white families. And one for everybody else.

So I told the graduating students at Morgan State University – the leaders we’re counting on to fight for equality, justice, and opportunity: It’s time to change the rules. I told them: “You have power, real power. And here’s how I know. Power has already shifted to you.”

My mother worked hard – but the truth is that America gave her a chance to save our little family, and I’m grateful down to my toes for that opportunity. And I want everyone to have that same chance. I want this to be an America where hard work means real payoff, an America where the rules work the same for everyone.

That is the true promise of our democracy. It’s a promise worth fighting for.

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

P.S. If you’d like to watch the entire 19-minute speech, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Elizabeth Warren isa  MA, USA Senator

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