Get Off the Bus: Anton Valukas

I had the pleasure of attending Lawrence’s 2012 Commencement, where I saw so many of the very best of my former students graduate. But the commencement address by Lawrence ’65 alum Anton Valukas really inspired me, both personally and professionally:

It is so, so rare to hear anyone talk about economic justice and the class system in America. And while I love the “Paint the Bus” idea, I was far more struck with what it would take to “Get Off the Bus” – the story he tells about a minister who had to do so as a Freedom Rider really made me wonder if I could do it. I don’t know that I could. But I do know, from other things I’ve done, what it means to feel that kind of free. They are terrifying and profound moments, but they are some of the only times in my life that I feel an intense connection to life, to being present, to the amazing dignity of what it can mean to be a human being.

Thank you, Mr. Valukas. It’s not often an activist gets this kind of adrenaline shot of re-affirmation.