Message from NY Senator Chuck Schumer


Hello to Farmingdale State. This is Senator Chuck Schumer. And it's my honor to congratulate you, the seniors in the Class of 2020. Now, I'm really sorry, I can't join you in person as I do just about every year. And I'm grateful that modern technology allows us to still be connected on this very special day. As we all know, these are truly difficult times, perhaps more difficult than most of us have ever experienced.
There are two aspects of this pandemic that make things all the more challenging. The first is our uncertainty, our lack of knowledge. How do we get the virus? How do we spread it? How does it affect different people differently? When will we have an effective antiviral medication? Will we have an effective max vaccine? And most of all, how soon can we get back to normal? And the second aspect of this virus that is just as bad is that we have to isolate ourselves.

We are New Yorkers, during times of trouble, we like to come together and embrace each other. After 9-11, I stood with President Bush on the pile. There were no partisan divisions, we came together as Americans and as New Yorkers. After Sandy, I walked the streets and beaches in New York City and Long Island, literally, all people. We can't do that now. We have to remain isolated.

So, the challenges of this moment, are truly unique. But so has been our collective response; just goes to show you that New Yorkers won't let anything, anything stop us from honoring what's so important to do. Now, first, I'd like to say a few words to the parents. Nothing, nothing will take away your decades of hard work, raising your children, or which they and all of us are so very grateful. While this day may be tempered by worries about the future, at least there's one silver lining. You're not seated way back in the balcony. You get to sit next to your son or daughter; you give them a hug. Congratulations to the moms and dads.
And one more word of thanks, today is we're celebrating right now, there are men and women all across the state nation or serving on the frontlines risking their lives in the battle against the Coronavirus. Doctors, nurses, health care workers, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, people who stack the food in the supermarkets and stand behind the counters at pharmacies; police officers, firefighters, and so many more. These people are our heroes. And I'm working to create a COVID-19 Heroes Fund, which would provide pandemic premium-pay to all essential workers. Let's have a virtual round of applause for that.

And now to the class of 2020. I know this may not be what you pictured even a few months ago, but today it's still your day. All of your hard work has earned you a degree from a fine institution of higher learning, and nothing can take that away from you. Right now, it may feel like the future is a dark hole. But what has been true throughout history, is just as true today, that even in times of difficulty, there are always new opportunities, new ways of thinking, doing things in a better way.

So, my message to the class of 2020 is simple: It's natural to fear the unknown, but don't let the harshness of his current moment prevent you from seizing opportunities. They're out there. And don't forget you have incredible assets: A college degree from a fine institution, and loving families will have your back thick and thin. Our society will overcome this pandemic. And so will you. When the worst is over, we'll need your help to rebuild our country even stronger than it was before. You are our future leaders, and we a have faith in you. So, to the Graduates, I say once again, congratulations. Good luck. Godspeed.

Last Modified 6/9/20