Rep. Barbara Lee to December 2020 grads: ‘Through these challenging times… You did it’

Barbara Lee smiling with graduate regalia on

Congresswoman Barbara Lee congratulated UC Berkeley’s winter 2020 graduates today during a virtual commencement ceremony. (Photo by Stephen McNally)

UC Berkeley student leaders joined Chancellor Carol Christ and keynote speaker California Congresswoman Barbara Lee today for a virtual commencement ceremony to applaud Berkeley’s winter 2020 graduates for their perseverance, grit and hard work to complete their degrees in the midst of a global pandemic.

Lee, a Berkeley alumna who has served in office for nearly 25 years, representing the district that covers most of northern Alameda County, spoke to students about the many challenges they had to endure this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and said, “Even through these challenging times … You did it.”

“Don’t let this just be another appointment on your calendar,” Lee added. “Step back, breathe it in. It’s special, and you earned it.”

Lee also addressed recent current events, such as a contentious U.S. presidential election and a national reckoning on racial and social justice, referring to this moment as a time when “we can be healed, and we can be transformed.”

“We’re living in a historic moment when things are shifting about us in ways that will have a profound impact on the future,” Christ said. “This may be a perilous time, but so, too, is it a time of creative ferment and possibility.”

Student speaker Bria Rosenberg conveyed a similar sentiment, but stressed that her fellow graduates are especially equipped to help build a better future as Berkeley graduates.

“We, fellow Bears, are resilient,” Rosenberg said. “No matter what life throws our way, we are strong. We are changemakers.”

Watch the entire video commencement below.


UC Berkeley’s most recent graduates were given a virtual commencement celebration Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (Video by Stephen McNally)