Biden Confronts Silent Protests at Morehouse Graduation

President Joe Biden encountered silent protests during his commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta, as certain students and faculty voiced their opposition to his visit, citing concerns over his approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In his speech, Biden acknowledged the tragic situation in Gaza and expressed his support for peaceful protests. He highlighted the intricacy of the conflict and his dedication to achieving a two-state solution for enduring peace.

Although there were no disruptive protests, a few graduates expressed their dissent by displaying Palestinian flags and keffiyehs, and some chose to turn their chairs or raise their fists during Biden’s speech. Interestingly, there was a clear contrast in the level of support among the graduates, as the alumni enthusiastically gave standing ovations while the 2024 class chose to remain seated.

Before Biden’s speech, the valedictorian made a plea for a halt in the fighting in Gaza, in line with Morehouse’s tradition of promoting peace and justice. Biden, with a thoughtful demeanour, expressed his support for a cease-fire.

During the ceremony, Biden restated his plea for an urgent cease-fire in Gaza and highlighted his endeavours to offer assistance and reconstruct the area. The Rev. Claybon Lea, Jr. also spoke about the conflict, encouraging graduates to stand up for the value of life in all its forms.

Morehouse College praised the students’ silent protests as a powerful display of solidarity and dedication to social justice. The college also recognised Biden’s openness to feedback and committed to maintaining a culture of open dialogue to promote positive societal change.

Biden delivered a speech at Morehouse, a historically Black college, in the midst of facing challenges in gaining support from young and Black voters, as well as facing protests regarding his handling of the Gaza conflict. Despite facing criticism, Morehouse stood firm in its decision to invite Biden and solidified its stance by voting to award him an honorary doctorate.

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