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Pascrell Tells Medical School Grads “We Are Counting on You”

In keynote address to over 250 new doctors, Pascrell emphasizes critical pandemic role of doctors and first responders

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today delivered the keynote address at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUA) graduation ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. There are 250 graduates in the AUA class of 2022, and over 2,000 family members, loved ones, and well-wishers attended the ceremonies.

“You carry with you the pride of your communities and their collected hopes for the future. You also carry with you proof in the growth and greatness of America,” Pascrell exhorted the diverse graduating class. “While you did not anticipate the world you enter, each of you enters it when we need you most.”

AUA is one of the few Caribbean medical schools that has been approved by the states of California and New York and whose students are eligible for Title IV student loans. AUA consistently graduates more Black Americans than any other medical school in the United States. AUA’s diverse student body includes a significant number of citizens of Indian descent. Its graduates often fan out to work in their communities to practice.

The text of Rep. Pascrell’s prepared speech is below.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Keynote Speech to AUA Medical School Class of 2022

President Simon, Provosts Mallin and Bell, Vice President Solomon, Deans, university administrators, faculty members, parents, loved ones, well-wishers, and last but not least – graduates: Welcome and congratulations!

Graduates: You passed the tests. You did the work. You were carried by your parents, your grandparents, your wives and husbands, your boyfriends and girlfriends, your friends and neighbors too. All of you made it here together.

So let’s give a round of applause to all of you here today who have been with our graduates every step of the way!

All of our graduates should be proud of what you’ve achieved. But you should be proud of who you are.

It is fitting we are sitting in the great state of New Jersey. We are great because there is no state in our union that has a more diverse quilt of communities.

And looking out at this graduating class, your incredible diversity is unmistakable.

You carry with you the pride of your communities and their collected hopes for the future.

You also carry with you proof in the growth and greatness of America.

There was a time, not long ago, when your ascension to this moment may not have been considered possible. 

Look at yourselves. It is no longer a dream. It is now a reality! A beautiful reality and a beautiful America.

When all of you entered medical school, none of you probably predicted these last two years.

In two years, over one million Americans are dead. Carry that number with you: one million.

Without our heroic first responders, nurses, doctors, the toll would have been far worse. And as the crisis endures, they continue to keep our nation alive. 

America’s burdened health care system cannot be fixed without first strengthening our workforce of health professionals.

America needs a health workforce that is robust in size, second-to-none in quality, and prepared to meet the increasing demands of a changing population. We are counting on you to help us rebuild a workforce focused on efficiency, prevention, wellness, and coordination.

Each of you now joins that guild. Each of you assumes the sacred responsibility of preserving life and community in a time of profound need. 

There may be a day soon you are work in your emergency room. And on that day a child or victim of a mass shooting enters your ward. Let us pray that does not happen. But if it does, you will be prepared.

Physicians and doctors’ associations are among our strongest advocates for gun violence prevention. Each of you understand the need for reform to protect our communities.

Because what makes this class so special is that so many of you will now fan out to your communities. 

You are seeking not fame, not profit, not glory, but the well-being of our neighbors and the health of our country. 

While you did not anticipate the world you enter, each of you enters it when we need you most.

Working in our government, one of the greatest tragedies of this era has the failure of leaders in positions of authority. So many have chosen personal profit over the welfare of our country.

A country can only endure when we pull together for something greater than ourselves.

You have made enormous sacrifices. You have dedicated your lives to our community future and collective destiny. 

You have the skills for success in your hands. Now put them to good use.

To the Class of 2022: Congratulations. We cannot wait to see your good works.

God bless every one of you, God bless your families, and God bless the United States of America.

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