U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was the featured speaker at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s commencement Monday.
Lynch spoke for exactly 30 minutes, addressing a packed Academy of Music in Philadelphia barely a week after the U.S. Department of Justice countersued the state of North Carolina over its law restricting trans people from using the bathroom of their choice.
While the country has come a long way since Jim Crow laws ruled the South, Lynch said, much work remains to be done in combating discrimination.
“Far too many Americans continue to face discrimination based not only on being poor, but also on what they look like, how they worship, whom they love, or even something as profoundly personal and private as how they use a restroom,” she said.
Lynch, who shared stories of growing up in North Carolina, told the graduates that they are entering the practice of law at a time when they can make a lasting impact in a changing nation.
“That future is in your hands. Today, your tenure as students of the law comes to an end and your career as stewards of justice begins.
“The challenges before you are daunting, but if you approach them with purpose and principle — if you seek always to use the instruments of law with wisdom and resolve, with justice in your hands — I have no doubt that you will succeed. You will make our profession stronger,” she said. “And I am certain that you will make our country stronger, more inclusive and more just.”