Television mogul Oprah Winfrey devoted part of her speech to the graduating class at Harvard University on Thursday to advocating expanded background checks for firearm owners and immigration reform.
“We understand that the vast majority of people in this country believe in stronger background checks because they realize that we can uphold the Second Amendment and, also, reduce the violence that is robbing us of our children,” Winfrey said at the ceremony. “They don’t have to be incompatible.”
Winfrey cited a May 2013 interview hosted by Bill Moyers with David and Francine Wheeler, whose 7-year-old son, Ben, was killed in the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
The Wheelers, Winfrey said, refused to be discouraged, telling Moyers, “Our hearts are broken, our spirit is not.”
Winfrey, who parlayed her quarter-century of success as the host of her eponymous talk show into launching the OWN Network, also called on the audience to do better than “the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle” and endorsed a path to citizenship for the country’s undocumented immigrants.
“It’s possible to both enforce our laws and, at the same time, embrace the words on the Statue of Liberty that have welcomed generations of huddled masses to our shores,” she said. “We can do both.”
Winfrey’s statement on gun safety laws, posted by YouTube user Bill Omar on Thursday, can be seen here.
Omar also posted Winfrey’s full speech on Friday, which can be seen here.