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At BCC Commencement, Warren Inspires; gives vision of bright futures.

Jacob Robbins, Editor-in-Chief

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Her message was simple: keeping fighting. “No matter the odds, no matter who you’re up against, if you fight for what you believe in, amazing things can happen. Amazing things will happen.”  These were the words that echoed throughout Tanglewood at Berkshire Community College’s 55th Commencement Ceremony as Massachusetts United States Senator Elizabeth Warren took the stage to deliver the commencement address.

“You may think you have nothing in common with Senator Warren” said BCC President Ellen Kennedy, “but that simply isn’t true.”

Most know Senator Elizabeth Warren as the consumer-rights advocate and crusader against major corruption on Wall Street, but her own personal story is one that can resonate with any college student or family.

Born in Oklahoma City to a working class family, Warren admitted to the commencement audience that “college was not in the cards” citing her father’s health issues and limited financial mobility. She aspired to be the first person from her family to graduate college and told the graduates that “the road was tough” marrying early, not finishing school, but eventually going back and “getting lucky—really lucky.”

“I took that chance and held on for dear life” Senator Warren said. “Each time I fought for something I believed in, and won, I believed I could do it again.”

Warren’s story of fighting hard resonated with many members of the audiences and graduates—including the valedictorian, Juan José Carrión-Almeida.

Mr. Carrión-Almeida is an immigrant to this country who shares many aspects of Warren’s story. Arriving in this country with a dream, he too fought hard and worked hard to reach his goals, eventually enrolling in Berkshire Community College, which enabled him to continue his education at the University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management in the fall.

In her address, Senator Warren commended the graduates at their success in “mastering the art of making something happen.” Besides fighting hard for her college education, Senator Warren also discussed her fight for consumer-rights and looking out against the corruption of Wall Street bank behemoths.

“Year after year I saw people getting slighted and cheated on by credit cards, poor wages, payday loans, and it got worse and worse. I watched as big banks raked (raked) in billions of dollars by trapping the people in debt, and I watched as families lost their homes, lost their paychecks, and lost their healthcare.”

Seeing all of these injustices and realizing that nothing was being done to combat these wrongdoings, Senator Warren sought out to create an agency that would protect the consumer and hold the banks accountable.

“What worried me was that were plenty of laws to stop those banks, but the government agencies that were supposed to enforce those laws could be lobbied—I wanted to change that.”

Other professionals in her field saw the injustice of the system and agreed that Senator Warrens idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would me a major step in leveling the playing field.  Yet, even the experts who saw the need for such a bureau, tried to talk her out of fighting for its creation.   “They gave me a million reasons no to do, but the reasons ultimately boiled down to one guarantee, ‘you can’t win.’ Don’t do it because you can’t win. Don’t even try, because you can’t win[. . .] they said don’t try, and what I heard was ‘try harder.’ ”

Senator Warren would go to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accomplishing her goal, but not without fighting hard.

Senator Warren recalled that the fight was an uphill battle, channeling David vs Goliath, as Senator Warren remembers. She fought hard “until you know what eventually happened? We won. We actually won.”

Her final piece of advice to the graduates brought her whole message full circle as she engages in another fight with President Barack Obama over the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement. “Nobody’s going to give it to you; you’ve got to fight for it.”

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Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain
At BCC Commencement, Warren Inspires; gives vision of bright futures.