With graduation season in full swing, Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs recently took part in the DePaul University commencement ceremony, where she was also honored with the degree Doctor of Humane Letters for her musical trajectory and her political and social activism.
“Through her music, she shares the difficulties of the Mexicans in the United States…. Her voice transcends frontiers. Her songs sing of love, pain and migration, and they remind us that we are citizens of the world and we should be proud of our roots,” said Marisa Alicea, Dean of the School for New Learning.
The Grammy-winning singer then took the stage to share an inspirational speech with the graduates, followed by an a cappella rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.”
“You have the opportunity to use your knowledge and apply it to help your community and you will make a difference in people’s lives as in your own. I invite you to do what you believe profoundly and make a statement about your reality… I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
— Westwood Ent. (@WestWoodEntt) June 11, 2016
Catch Lila Downs’ speech here.