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May 17th

On May 17th, 2004 I graduated from college. A group of us stayed up late the night before making hundreds of little rainbow ribbons, and on the day of graduation we distributed all of them to the class. The president of our college mentioned in her speech the victorious day to loud cheers and applause.

Later that day I spoke a few words at a rally celebrating the marriage decision. These are the words that I had quickly jotted down on the back of my graduation program to say that day:

Four years ago, as a freshmen in college, I first walked through the doors of the Boston Alliance of LGBT Youth. In that short amount of time I have seen the transformation of countless young peoples' lives. I've seen suicidal youth become leaders in our community. I've seen youth organize protests, fundraisers, and proms. But recently I've seen something more special occur. Young people are actively taking part in our political process again. At BAGLY we are working to transform our culture into one that is anti-racist and founded in social justice. And BAGLY youth have spent countless days, weeks - at the State House these past few months.
Earlier today I graduated from college, celebrated Brown Vs. Board of Ed. and same-sex marriage became legal. This is one of the most joyous days in my life and in our history.
Yet at each celebration I can't help but acknowledge our anger. We are still angry that LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. Angry that AIDS research funding has been cut. Angry that our peers are fighting in an unjust war. Angry that women's reproductive rights are under attack. Angry that institutionalized racism is still keeping people down.
So today, as we celebrate, enjoy it. But remember why you're here and what is left to be done. If there is one thing I've learned in the past four years, it is that young people are not the future of this broad progressive movement, we are the movement. We are the here and now, and we demand change.

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