Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in front of thousands of people at UCLA’s Royce Hall on March 5th. The university awarded her the UCLA Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university, one of the nation’s best.
The Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership drew the attention of people of all ages. Alumnus, board members, VIPs and campus students gathered in the Royce Hall auditorium to listen to what the featured speaker had to say about current events, future plans and invisible crises others are unwilling to acknowledge.
As former Secretary Clinton took the stage, she immediately exuded warmth and strength as a national leader. She shared early stories about her visits to the UCLA neighborhood when she first dated “this guy from Kansas” who Americans later would call the President of the United States. Drawing in laughs and loud cheers of support, the former Secretary accepted the UCLA Medal and after her small bit of words, proceeded to a Q&A session with Professor Lynn Vavreck and elaborated on healthcare, equal rights, the current socio-political climates of Russia and Ukraine, her candidacy for the Presidential elections and the fight ahead for millennials today.
Young Americans Have a Powerful Voice
Reaching out the several hundreds of college students present that day in Royce Hall, Secretary Clinton extended words of wisdom for millennials trying to navigate their way through this new generation of endless plights.
The former Secretary labeled it a major crisis. A dying job market coupled with low opportunities for higher education, the odds are against the American youth. Each year, it grows more and more difficult for young Americans to enter university and finish their education. The odds are worse for ethnic Americans. Post-graduation, many more are unable to obtain stable employment or are severely underemployed. Despite harrowing statistics and a bleak forecast, the incredible phenomenon within the same generation is its characteristic generosity.
The former Secretary recalled information that stated never before, historically, have people been more invested in volunteer work for their communities, for charities and causes. Thousands and thousands of people have come together for various community projects that benefit locals, started campaigns to raise awareness and support and fought for the attention of those in power to make necessary changes within their neighborhoods. All of these efforts have been powered by young Americans wanting to enforce positive changes. It was inarguable evidence that young Americans do not play a small role in national affairs but offer a mature, collected voice with the ability to make change absolutely real and resonate within the communities
Beyond the Auditorium
As the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, waved good bye as she walked off the stage, not one person left the auditorium untouched by what she had to say. Whether it was the several bits of statistical information or her professional political stance on rising issues both domestic and foreign, everyone was provoked to think much more deeply about where they stand in terms of the world order. For students and young adults of Royce Hall, it confirmed and fueled a conviction shared with like-minded millennials.
The American youth are hungry for change. Yet this change is not one that is simply financial and comes out of spite against a drowning economy. As demonstrated with their superior level of volunteer activism and passionate participation in movements for causes of all kinds, young adults need not a revolution for monetary gain.
This generation of millennials is one characterized by great hunger for achievement, high emotional intelligence and compassion for the future. It is one that fights for the dire need of a social renaissance—a sort of rebirth for the national community where racism, religion, or socio-economic standing neither undermines nor works against any individual.
In its fundamental state, its call for modern renaissance is one for peace and similarly requires collaborative effort. In order to create a national community with the culture of peace at its core, it requires the involvement of each member of society and is impossible to achieve without total participation. So the voices shout to generations above and below, to establish change against the old world order and contribute to an environment that celebrates equality, mutual respect and opportunity—despite any attachments.