PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In keeping with Brown’s tradition of elevating student voices during Commencement, two Class of 2021 graduates, George Kubai and Siddhi Nadkarni, delivered rousing keynote orations during twin College Ceremonies held Sunday, May 2, on the College Green.
Kubai began his remarks with the story of a young boy who grew up in an impoverished village. Following the death of his father, the boy’s mother made her way to the U.S. in search of a new life for her family. But instead of finding a “land of opportunity,” the boy’s mother found an immigration system that threatened to deport her and eventually imprisoned her. She found herself in a land where she must teach her boy to never to wear a hoodie and keep his hands where they could be seen, “lest the wrong move leave him laying on a sidewalk.”
Still, the boy managed to overcome these and other obstacles to earn an engineering degree from an Ivy League institution.
“At this point in the story, I will tell you that this little boy is me,” Kubai said. “But not so that we could delight in a Black success story or hold on to the hope that a rose can grow out of concrete. But rather to urge us to dream, to dream of a world where black success is not an anomaly — where the story of black success is not overcoming excruciating odds at every turn.”