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May 15, 2020 7 mins

Known as “The Voice of New York,” Angie Martinez is recognized as one of the most influential personalities in popular culture and media. In addition to her 25+ years of on-air hosting experience, Angie boasts a diverse portfolio of entrepreneurial endeavors, having served as a New York Times best-selling author, Grammy-nominated recording artist, actor, brand spokesperson and activist.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Commencement Speeches for the Class of is a production of
I Heart Radio, Class of Parents, faculty, rising graduates, Welcome
to commencement. You made it. This year is a little different,

a difficult time to graduate because the traditional graduation day
has been put on hold, So we're bringing it to
you wherever you are, because this is still your day,
your moment, and now put your hands together, it's time
to be inspired. This year's commencement speaker, the one and
only Angie Martinez m Hello to the Class of First

of all, I hope you guys are staying safe and
healthy and also finding time to do things that make
you happy and keep be inspired. Secondly, I want to
give a quick shout out to the graduating class of
Rockets University, New York. I was selected to be their
commencement speaker this year, and obviously that's been postponed, but
I very much look forward to seeing you guys in
person very soon. Right now, though, I'd like to congratulate

every member of the Class of across the country. I
cannot even imagine what it feels like to be a
graduate at this specific moment in time, but what I
do know is there have been plenty of times in
my own life and career where I've worked really hard
for something and invested effort and time, and then the
end result wasn't exactly what I had envisioned, Like the

time that I saved up my money and put all
my energy into signing up for a broadcasting class because
I had dreams of being on the radio, and then
when I got there, they told me that my New
York accent was too strong and that that would never
work on air. Whatever. First of all, I don't have
an accent. Second of all, don't ever let anybody make

you feel bad or let stand because of who you
are and where you're from. It's not your fault. They
don't see your unique potential in any case. Another time
I can think of was when I decided I was
gonna check off a box on my bucket list and
I was gonna raise some money for a good cause,
and I was going to run the New York City Marathon,

all twenty six point two miles of the New York
City Marathon. And I had to really train for that
because my whole life I had never really run more
than a mile. So I had to train morning before
my radio show. After I cried, I complained, I had
ice baths because I was sore all the time. I mean,
it was a commitment. And then three weeks before the

big race, I injured my hip flexer. Now, if you
don't know what that is, what it is is painful
and disappointing and definitely not what I had planned. But
that's life, right. No matter what, there will be times
that you will be presented with circumstances that are unexpected
or uncertain, and it's those moments that will shape your future.

The class of has a keen understanding more than any
other graduating class that things will not always happen the
way we plan them. And don't get me wrong, it
is important to plan. Yes, plan please prepare, work hard,
arm yourself with the tools that you're gonna need to
reach your goals. But what is equally important is what

you do when things don't go as planned. Also understand
that it is your unique life experience that prepares you
for what you can contribute to the world. Our truths
and our experiences are our greatest gift. It's how we learn,
grow and inspire others. So use this moment to connect
to your truth. Listen to that little voice in your

head that knows exactly what you've been put on this
earth to do, and don't let anything distract you from that.
And it's not as easy as it sounds, because we
live in noisy times where everyone has an opinion and
we're faced with them all day on your phone, TV,
social media. Even the noise of our own self doubt
can sometimes creep in our head. I mean, I still

have moments where I have to remind myself of that
that voice could have easily prevented me from doing many
things in my career, including writing my memoir. I can
literally remember thinking, why do you think you can do that?
Your English is broken, your spelling is terrible, You've never
written anything to this extent in your whole life. But
that's when I quieted that voice close my eyes, jumped

in and started writing. I swear sometimes you just have
to show up and start, even if you don't see
where the finish line is. And I did it. I
finished the book and it wound up becoming a New
York Times bestseller. That was a light lex but it
was pretty great. But really the greatest part of that
experience was meeting all the incredible people who had read

my book, and reading my life story really resonated with them.
To me, it proved that who we are is our
greatest will in connecting with and inspiring others, even when
it's not the perfect story, especially when it's not the
perfect story. That marathon story I told you about one
to becoming a great final chapter in my book because ultimately,

as devastated as I was to have gotten injured, I
still showed up. The doctor said it was okay, He
said it would hurt, but that I could show up.
And I did. Even with my injury. I hobbled my
way to the starting line with the intention of giving
it my all, and by the grace of God and
tons of inspiration along the way, I finished. I mean,

it was dark outside, it took me forever, and I
was crawling across the finish line. But I've finished, and
there was great victory in that. But if I'm being honest,
the real victory is in what I learned along the way. See.
Because I was hurt, my whole group had to go
on without me, which was a blessing in disguise because
it forced me to be alone to face this great challenge.

Had I not been injured, the lessons wouldn't have it
so much and resonated so deep. I learned that only
I could get myself to that finish line. No one
could run my race for me. And if I had
let myself get distracted by what other people were doing,
how fast they were going, or worried about who was watching,
I would have easily missed my mark because I had

to go deep inside of myself to find my own
inner strength. The point is that things are going to
be challenging and unexpected, but if you show up armed
with resilience and self belief, you can really do anything
that you set your mind to. At the end of
the day, no one can live your life for you
or fight your battles for you. It is up to you,
and you already have everything you need and now you're here,

ready to begin this new chapter in your journey. Be
open to your truth, to where your life takes you,
and be open to the possibility in each moment your
life is happening to you the exact way it's supposed to.
Where you are from, who you are and what you
have been through have brought you to this moment of
your graduation, and it will take you through this global crisis,

and it will serve you during every obstacle that arises
along the path of your life. And the words of
the Great Lipsy Hustle, the marathon continues. So run your
own race, don't waste your time worrying about what everyone
else is doing. Set your own pace, create your own path,
and keep moving forward. I believe in you, I'm inspired

by you, and I'm thankful for this opportunity to connect
with you. Congratulations class. You can find a collection of
incredible commencement addresses from all your favorite speakers at the

Commencement Podcast on I Heart Radio or wherever you listen
to podcasts.
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