THE 2011 GRADUATES of Hampton University may be done with college, but Bill Cosby says their work is just beginning.
“Now is the time for you to act upon all the things you see that are wrong in this world,” he told them Sunday. “Be honest. Look at them, and begin to work on them. Take your pick.”
Cosby, an actor, philanthropist and educator best known for his comedy, addressed 980 graduates at the historically black university’s 141st graduation.
There was room in his commencement address, too, for humor, like the joke about a man who asks Jesus to heal his high blood pressure. “Stop eating salt,” Jesus replies. In another, a couple trying to get into heaven are told to find a question God can’t answer. They ask when their children are going to get their act together.
Cosby warned the graduates not to use their diplomas as Mother’s Day gifts, and he teased those with less-than-perfect grades, saying he wouldn’t hire anyone who knows only 72 percent of what they should know.
But he also delivered a serious message – that the world needs honest politicians, people to get out the vote and entrepreneurs and business owners with solutions to the problems in tough neighborhoods.
The economy may be down, but that’s no excuse, Cosby said. They can volunteer. He told them to take their math and science skills down to the local church or Boys and Girls Club, find children who need help with their schoolwork and tutor them at the library.
“I want you all to feel that the responsibility of this revolution is in your heart,” Cosby said. “We need people to build stores with food, clothing. We need people to go to our farmers, buy things, bring fresh foods back…. We need you to stop counting on other people to bring things to your neighborhood.”
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