Jun. 7, 2020

Former president Barack Obama addresses 2020 high school graduates .

Tonight, President Obama will offer a special message to this year’s graduating class of high school and college seniors, as part of YouTube’s virtual commencement, “Dear Class of 2020.” 

While our nation grapples with anguish and grief, rituals like graduation still serve as important rites of passage; moments to acknowledge and celebrate. We hope President Obama’s message can offer some optimism to this year’s class. Even as we face the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, it will be up to this generation to set the world on a better path.


You can watch the President's message today at 6:40 pm ET. The full commencement—including a message from Mrs. Obama, begins at 3 pm ET. 

As we celebrate the next generation of leaders, we know the stress and trauma of racism and police violence are ever-present. President Obama recently joined Congressman John Lewis, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, writer and survivor of police brutality Leon Ford, Jr., and youth leader LeQuan Muhammad, in an intergenerational conversation, moderated by activist and author Darnell Moore, to discuss the mental toll racism takes on people of color.  

You can watch this powerful and poignant conversation—and find mental health resources for dealing with racial stress and trauma here.

Finally, if you have not already, take a moment to watch President Obama’s town hall with national and local leaders who are working to end police violence in America. 

In anguish, in action,

—The Obama Foundation