Kimberly Green's Honorary Doctorate Degree Speech

Speech given by Green Family Foundation President Kimberly Green During the Commencement Ceremony Held on December  12, 2011

It is with great pleasure and honor that I thank you for this opportunity.

I want to thank all the teachers and administrators, family and friends of the graduates and all the staff members at FIU that help to keep this campus looking so beautiful and inviting, considering it is expanding every day.

Getting this honorary degree in public service, at an institution such as FIU really speaks volumes more for the mission and integrity of the university than it does for me.  It shows that this university cares not only about recognizing those who help the university in fund raising efforts, but those who truly put their words into action.  For close to 20 years I have working for social justice for the people of Miami, and Haiti, and yes, I have been fortunate enough to be able to write checks, but I have also been fortunate enough to have to courage to work hands on face to face, with the people whose lives we aim to elevate.

Standing on this stage, I think is probably the last place my parents ever expected to see me.  Traipsing across the Himalayas to pray with lama’s in Tibet, sitting in a sweat lodge praying with the Oglala Sioux, running after the grateful dead in a van full of hippies, or traveling back and for the to Haiti for 12 years, these things, they are already used to…….butthis???  But each of those experiences, plus many manyothers, have lead me down my own path to where I stand today.  I have had the privilege to be able to travel the world searching for my own truth, while also receiving and education.

But Privilege is a right or a benefit enjoyed beyond the advantages of most, and with privilege comes responsibility.  All of you now are privileged, through your hard work and determination, and now you have a great responsibility.  You are now responsible to use this privilege to the advantage of others.  You must go out and build a building that will last longer than all of us here today, teach a new generation of leaders, create a new art movement, save a life, write a novel, or fight for the rights of the voiceless. 

Each soul here with make a difference somehow, each voice here will be heard, each hand here will take another’s in kindness and certainty, and each one of you here will make a huge difference in the world, your neighborhood and your families.

And if you think it is impossible for one small individual to be immensely effective, you have obviously never spent a night alone trying to fall asleep in a room with a mosquito.