Sit for Peace During Vice-President Cheney's
Commencement Speech at FSU, 2004
Members of the Tallahassee Buddhist
Peace Fellowship sit in witness outside the FSU Civic Center
when Vice President Dick Cheney gave the commencement address to FSU
graduates on May 4, 2004.
Jenny Grill, who received her doctorate from FSU and
is a member of the Tallahassee BPF, wrote a letter to the Tallahassee
Democrat on the choice of Cheney as commencement speaker at FSU graduation:
As an instructor in the College of Education at Florida State University,
I am very proud of those graduating this weekend and extend my congratulations
to you all! I know this is finals week, but grades are not due yet,
so please allow me one more lecture.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the invitation of Vice President
Cheney to FSU's Saturday graduation exercises. For some, Mr. Cheney's
visit will be viewed as a great honor, for others, his presence will
arouse great contempt. Several protests and demonstrations will take
place during the Saturday morning commencement. For me, Mr. Cheney represents
an administration that actively perpetuates violence and refuses to do
the work it takes to create peace in a world that sorely needs it, but
I do support his right to speak.
While Mr. Cheney exercises his right to free speech inside the Civic
Center, other citizens will exercise their free speech rights outside,
and I will be one of them. My wish is not to create more division, but
to be a peaceful presence. I ask those of you graduating to see this
day as an exercise in good-hearted equanimity. Whatever your views, listen
to Mr. Cheney's words and pay attention to the concerns of demonstrators,
then form your own opinions--form them with respect and fierce courtesy
for all. Remember, you are part of a learning community and a democracy.
May your graduation be a wonderful way to celebrate both!