Mayor Dana S. Hilliard – “Graduation Speech for the Class the 2017”

Regardless of the languages we speak, the customs we practice, or the flag we pledge to, all of us are linked together by the same universal strands; to be respected, live life free from violence and oppression, and to seek and find love.

Over two thousand and seventeen years ago a young carpenter in his famous sermon on the mountain would lead followers with a new covenant of “Love thy neighbor” and “Do unto others”.

Other major religions throughout the world guide us with similar advice, that of respecting one another and every living thing before us.

We are born pure and unspoiled by the tainted influence of the sometimes misplaced values of humanity and society; still growing towards achieving the enlightenment of understanding our fragile existence, of understanding our interconnection to every living thing, our interconnection to each other.

Your journey over the last twelve years has been to develop a foundation of understanding how critical being “Safe, Respectful, Responsible, and Cooperative” will play out throughout your life – How critical honoring and celebrating each other is, and recognizing and accepting the vast diversity throughout our city, state, nation and world – How critical it will be to stand up to those who would steal your dignity, mistreat you, or violate your rights guaranteed you in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

One does not need to search the text of the ancients to gain wisdom or self-validation as to why each and every one of you is to be honored, respected and celebrated. One does not need to search for words in the Bible, Tao or Koran to seek strength, courage or serenity, or to understand that each person’s life and existence in this moment is so special. For sometimes, the lyrics of a simple song summarize your personal life journey, and that of those around you.

Class of 2016, on behalf of the City of Somersworth, I share with you this departing advice from Lady Gaga:

 

Lady Gaga Born This Way

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up ’cause you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars

She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are”
She said, “‘Cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way (Born this way)

Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track baby I was born this way

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be don’t be don’t be

Give yourself prudence
And love your friends
So we can rejoice your truth

In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M (hey hey hey)
I love my life I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe, yah

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track, baby I was born this way

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way yeah

Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way (Born this way)
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Right track, baby I was born this way

I was born this way hey
I was born this way hey
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey

I was born this way hey
I was born this way hey
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey

 

Once again, congratulations on your accomplishments, best wishes as you continue to work towards your goals, dreams and aspirations. Know that Somersworth will always be home, and may your blood forever run Hilltopper Blue.

 

 

 

We are a community, we are on the move, and we are achieving progress and greatness.
WE ARE SOMERSWORTH!
                                    Mayor Dana Hilliard 

 

 

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