After being dis-invited and then invited again to give a commencement speech at Pasadena City College, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black gave an inspiring, motivational speech on Friday night.
In fact, it was such an amazing speech that one of the guys who initially dis-invited at the end of Lance’s speech declared, “it was one of the finest moments” ever experienced on the 90-year-old campus.
The 39-year-old Black was invited back to his alma mater that he graduated from 20 years ago, before heading off to UCLA film school, to give a speech. He was going to fly in from London for the engagement and was looking forward to it, when one of the college’s Board of Trustees got wind of the nude photos that found their way to the Internet featuring Black.
The photos came from a former boyfriend, and were sold after Black’s Oscar win and he won a $100,000 judgment against the thief and had most of the eliminated online. The students supported Black, and he wrote directly to the students for the “public shaming” that the administrators were trying to do to him. (Read this poignant letter here: http://www.pcccourier.com/2014/04/17/exclusive-dustin-lance-black-speaks-directly-to-pcc-students)
On Friday as the sun was setting on the completely filled stadium (with families and friends waiting outside), Lance walked with the Board of Trustees to the podium after being introduced by a student who called Lance his “hero,” Associated Students President Jordyn Orozco.
“I’m glad that he accepted the invite (again),” said Orozco, who presented the award-winner with a poster of “Milk” about gay activist Harvey Milk, which was signed by the students.
He opened talking about how he sometimes judges accomplishments about how hard it is to make the journey, and in this case, he said it was one of his greatest accomplishments. He had flown from London to get to the commencement after a tense few days of the invitation being withdrawn.
Ironically, Lance’s replacement was to be Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who opened a dental clinic and has worked with HIV/AIDS patients, but has said in sermons (viewable online) that the gay-positive show “Will & Grace” was the “work of the devil” and that teachers who teach evolution are “Satan’s ministers,” among other things.