The Harvard Graduate School of Education is praising student Donovan Livingston for his convocation speech, which was delivered in the form of spoken-word poetry (video below).
“One of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches you will ever hear!,” the school wrote in a May 25 Facebook post with a video of Livingston’s speech.
Livingston, who received his master’s degree in education, begins his speech with a 1848 quote from education reformer Horace Mann: “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.”
He then reads his originally crafted spoken-word poetry, outlining historic obstacles that have hindered African Americans from receiving an education while referencing influential people, such as poet and social activist Langston Hughes and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, according to The Associated Press.
The video has been viewed on Facebook more than 9.7 million times and has attracted the attention of at least one well-known celebrity, Justin Timberlake.
“You don’t feel inspired?? Here you go… #LiftOff,” Timberlake wrote as a caption when sharing the video to his official Facebook page.
The #LiftOff hashtag is drawn from the title of Livingston’s speech and its final two words:
Education is no equalizer.
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up, wake up! Lift your voices until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been the Black hole in the classroom for far too long, absorbing everything without allowing my light escape, but those days are done.
I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness for generations to come.
No, no, the sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.