First and foremost thank you to my sister Susan who has been an inspiration to me for my entire adult life - she belongs up here as much as I do. To my teachers - thank you for your wisdom and guidance. And thank you to my NY family, near and far, for always believing in me.
And to my mom in heaven. Everything I do, I do to make you proud.
I view this award not as a recognition of my achievements, but rather as a guide for the next generation, to highlight the myriad of paths you can take to live an enlightened life.
From academic studies, to athletics, to military service, to scientists and engineers and health professionals - if you’re a young student watching this, look to the examples you see here as a guide. And then, make OUR journey just a little part of your own. I believe my role here tonight is not to accept an award, but to deliver a promise that this award will also be possible to achieve for each and every person, regardless of race, color, origin, religion, gender, abilities and disabilities of all kinds. To help deliver a promise that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
So in receiving this award I must acknowledge the inherent advantages and privileges I had growing up as a white, middle class, male. In high school when I wanted to use the brand new state of the art Apple Macintosh computer, with an 8mhz processor and 1mb ram - weighing in at 16 lbs - ... I just waved and brought it home for the weekend. And I recall a situation in my teens right here in Amsterdam, when the police were investigating an incident near me, and instead of accusing me of a crime, they instead asked for my insight into what happened, and even drove me home when I needed ride. Those are privileges not available to everyone.
That was 30 years ago. And even today many people in this country do not have those same advantages. The tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to - “I can’t breathe” - free. I want those people to know, that people who look like me recognize our privilege, and are working diligently to ensure equality of opportunity for all. So we can one day become the ideal of a nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all humans are created equal, with the liberty and justice that was promised, but not yet delivered.
As the poet John Francis Bongiovi wrote … you live for the fight when that’s all that you got. To those just beginning your journey, to those with their futures ahead of them who have not yet begun to fight, this is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, family when you feel alone, justice to balance the scale, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, a rock upon which to build your church, light when sadness intrudes, laughter to ease your worries, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, and love to complete your life.
So let the light guide your way,
Hold every memory as you go,
Because every road you take, will always lead you home.
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Remarks, Oct 1, 2021