Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib recently addressed graduates as the keynote speaker for Bellevue College’s annual commencement ceremony in Seattle’s Key Arena. Footage from his keynote has just been made available via ‘College Channel‘.
Habib, a Bellevue College graduate who recently joined the prestigious Council On Foreign Relations, spoke of his parents’ pursuit of higher education as a driving factor for their move to the U.S. from Iran.
Habib’s speech highlighted the values most important to him, including self-advocacy, advocacy on behalf of others, and gratitude. He spoke of learning about self-advocacy through what he called “the playground gospel.”
The “playground gospel” originated from what Habib described as a formative childhood experience. As a result of losing his eyesight by the age of eight due to childhood cancer, school officials barred him from joining the other children on the playground equipment. Indignant when hearing of his exclusion from the playground, Habib said that his mother took him to the principal the next day to teach him “how to advocate for himself”. Habib’s mother told the principal that she would teach her son to learn the playground equipment, and that, “he’s going to learn it as well as any other kid knows it.”. Her reasoning, according to Habib, was this:
“It may happen that he may slip and fall and it may even happen that he may slip and fall and break his arm. That’s a fear any mother has. I can fix a broken arm – I can never fix a broken spirit.”