WASHINGTON, DC (UNF NEWS) – It was early on the day before Mother’s Day when graduates woke up along with faculty, parents and extended family members. Saturday morning, May 13, 2023 was the day that the Class of 2023 at Howard University graduated. The event was held inside of the Capital One arena on F Street in Washington, DC. Everyone upon entry to the arena was screened by the United States Secret Service. The Secret Service made certain that the event went off without a hitch, hiccup and that all guests were safe.

Graduates walked inside of the arena with jubilation as the program was underway. President of the United States Joe Biden was the commencement speaker. Prior to speaking, President Biden was honored by Howard University with an honorary “Doctor of Letters” degree. The President thanked the University staff and graduates for being in attendance. President Biden, after sharing pleasantries with the graduates and audience at-large, grew serious in his demeanor and tone to the graduates. The President spoke about the main reason that made him run for the presidency.

“After being — no longer being Vice President, I became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania for four years. But in 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, crazed neo-Nazis with angry faces came out of the fields with — literally with torches, carrying Nazi banners from the woods and the fields chanting the same antisemitic bile heard across Europe in the ‘30s. Something that I never thought I would ever see in America. Accompanied by Klansmen and white supremacists, emerging from dark rooms and remote fields and the anonymity of the Internet, confronting decent Americans of all backgrounds standing in their way, into the bright light of day and a young woman objecting to their presence was killed, and what did you hear? That famous quote. When asked about what happened, that famous quote. “There are very fine people on both sides.” That’s when I knew and I’m not joking, that’s when I knew I had to stay engaged and get back into public life.”, President Biden said to the graduates.

“I don’t have to tell you that fearless progress towards justice often meets ferocious pushback from the oldest and most sinister of forces. That’s because hate never goes away. I thought, when I graduated, we could defeat hate but it never goes away. It only hides under the rocks and when it’s given oxygen, it comes out from under that rock and that’s why we know this truth as well, silence is complicity. It cannot remain silent. We are living through this battle for the soul of the nation.”, President Biden said to the graduates. One comment from the President that drew the most applause is when he said that white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to the United States of America.

After the President’s remarks to the graduates, the crowd cheered and applauded. When the event was over, graduates and their families embraced as they exited the Capital One arena.

By Kyle Mazza

I have photographed and reported on several concerts, galas, press conferences and special events since I was 8-years-old. I am the holder of a New York City Press Credential, Maryland State Press Credential and White House Press Credentials. I cover President Joe Biden, covered Former President Donald J. Trump and at other times candidates for President including then Former Vice President Joe Biden while he campaigned, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and others. I took part in overseas trips with Former President Trump as part of the White House Traveling Press. I have also covered Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama. I have covered events in Canada including events with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau such as the Visit of Vice President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa and other high-profile events such as the Open Government Partnership and the 2020 Presidential Debate with Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald J. Trump in Nashville, Tennessee and the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate with Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have covered several entertainment and red carpet events including the 2016 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball in Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC and the Z100 JingleBall Announcement Event with Daya and Charlie Puth in New York, NY in 2016. I have also covered two Miss America Pageant's and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2020 in New York, NY. Other notable events that I have covered include the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and the Visit of Pope Francis to New York, NY in 2015. Follow me on Twitter @KyleMazzaWUNF and on Instagram @KyleMazzaWUNF.