Bryan Stevenson, Calls on RISD Graduates to Change the World at 2019 Commencement

“There is something that feels more like equality, that feels more like freedom than what we’ve experienced…. We’ve got to change narratives…. we’ve got to change the world.” 
Last weekend, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson, delivered an inspirational speech to the graduating class of 2019 at RISD’s 136th Annual Commencement service.

Stevenson’s commencement address had a simple, yet motivating message: to change the world. “My charge is like their charge. I’m worried about the world that we now must enter…. I really do want to talk about this thing that everyone calls changing the world, because I think you can do it. I think you can do it in ways that are important and necessary and reflective.”

“Justice prevails where hopelessness persists…. Our hope is our superpower. Our hope will get us to stand up while others tell us to sit down. Our hope will get some of us to speak when other people are quiet. Our hope is powerful.”
Stevenson upheld his plea for hope by insisting that students use their creative gifts to uplift and support those without power and privilege. “Because, I don’t think we are ultimately going to be judged for what we do for the powerful and the privileged and those who are rich. I think we’ll be judged for what we do for the poor, the neglected, those who are suffering, those who are dealing with inequality.”
“You’re going to change narratives, you’re going to do uncomfortable things,You’re going to change the world.”

Contact: Abby Addams