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In a time when political turmoil is our new day to day, and Black bodies are constantly under attack, it can be a scary time to step out into the real world after graduation. Lucky for the graduates of Southern University and A&M College, political commentator and social justice activist Angela Rye had them covered with an incredible speech.

CASSIUS caught up with her right before the ceremony, and she shared the central message she wanted the graduates to walk away with from her speech: It’s now their time to build their own legacies.

“We live in a very challenging time, and their responsibility is just really beginning,” Rye said to CASSIUS in an interview. “Their opportunity to build legacy, to open doors and hold doors open for those who come after them.”

Rye said that speaking at Southern, a notable Historically Black University, was poignant for her as she has spent her career advocating for HBCUs and almost even attended one. The CNN commentator and CEO of IMPACT Strategies revealed she almost went to Howard University for undergrad, but at the last minute decided it would be best for her to stay home for school.

We need champions and advocates now…our activism is not optional.

As for the Class of 2018, she hopes that the ardent activism the generation currently holds so dear does not fizzle out once they leave the comfortable confines of a college campus.

“I hope the world is changing, I hope that wokeness isn’t just the latest trend,” she said. “We need champions and advocates now…our activism is not optional.”

Southern University graduates detailed their gratitude for Rye’s words of wisdom in the video, saying how grateful they were to have a send-off with her brilliant words on their special day.

Check out the video above for tons of inspirational words from Rye and the graduating class.