It was a typical morning and I was on my way to deliver a keynote speech for the tremendously prestigious firm, Fidelity Investments.
On the day, my Speaking Manager Champ Nichols informed me that this keynote would be different from any I had delivered previously, as I would be speaking on a yacht. This was a first, and I was looking forward to it.
So we arrived at the pier and boarded this beautiful yacht. It was a cold and misty New York morning. As we pulled away from the dock I began to go through my normal ritual, I prayed, thanking God for the opportunity to speak to people who want to be inspired by what I have to say. I started to go over the speech I was about to deliver.
Then they introduced me, I ran upstairs and began my keynote. The energy in the room was electric and the crowd and I were feeding off of each other.
And she managed to stand strong for over a century. There she was, delivering on a promise that she made to me 35 years ago. See, you have to understand; I grew up in Hollis, Queens, a borough of New York City. As a kid, I had ambitions to be somebody special, but as the reality of my surroundings settled in, I began to lose hope.
People used to tell me and my friends that we wouldn’t live to see 21, and that if we did we’d be in jail. I began to think that certain things were out of reach for me, as many kids still believe today.
Then, one day we took a class trip to see the Statue of Liberty. When we got to Liberty Island, we learned the history of the statue. We learned that Lady Liberty was a gift from France, given to us on October 28th, 1886. The President of the French Anti-Slavery Society, Édouard René de Laboulaye gave her to us when we abolished slavery after the civil war. The broken shackle on her foot symbolizes the beginning of the end of oppression and tyranny. Our teacher went on to tell us some of the other reasons why Lady Liberty is significant. She said that from 1886-1924, over 14 million immigrants passed by the statue.