Former United States President Jimmy Carter delivered a commencement speech at Liberty University in Virginia in which he announced that the world’s biggest problem “is the discrimination against women and girls.”
The 39th President noted that he has diverged from his previous belief that the disparity in wealth between the rich and the working class is the greatest challenge our world faces.
“I think now it’s a human rights problem, and it is the discrimination against women and girls in the world,” Carter said in his speech.
Carter went on to cite some examples of the injustices that women and female face every day all over the world:
“There are about 160 million girls and women who are not living today because their parents, in order to comply with laws or customs, had to have just male babies, sons, and either had to kill their babies by strangling them at birth, or having the modern-day ability to determine before the baby is born what gender it is going to be, if the fetus is female, then they abort the child.”
Carter continued, “Atlanta, where The Carter Center is located, is the greatest center for human trafficking, or slavery, in America. One reason is we have the busiest airport in America, and a lot of our passengers come from the Southern Hemisphere. A girl who is brown-skinned or black-skinned can be sold, according to the New York Times, to a brothel owner for about $1,000, and a brothel owner makes about $35,000 for these forced brothel prostitutes. Also, the last time we did a check on our military, it was found that there were about 16,000 cases of sexual abuse every year.”
Carter’s speech was delivered just one year after President Donald Trump gave a commencement speech at Liberty University that received a divided response from the graduating class of 2017.
Liberty University’s President Jerry Falwell Jr. is an outspoken Trump supporter. Falwell’s decision to invite Carter, a Democratic president, to deliver the 2018 commencement speech was inspired by their shared religious beliefs.
“I was so impressed with the president’s warmth, kind demeanor, and humility. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to welcome President Carter to our Commencement stage. I have tremendous respect for him as a statesman and a true Christian,” Falwell said in a statement released by Liberty University in February.
Carter served as president from 1977 to 1981, the heart of the civil rights movement. He’s no stranger to the strong dividers that people in this country have placed between one another.
“So far, Americans through history have had a hard time adjusting to this concept of equality …” he said. “Even now, some of us are still struggling to accept the fact that all people are equal in the eyes of God.”
In true commencement fashion, Carter left the graduates a tidbit of advice on top of everything else he had challenged them to consider. He urged them to let “life, freedom, [and the] opportunity to live a completely successful life” light the path to their next adventures.
“Everyone decides: ‘This is the kind of person I choose to be.’ We decide whether we tell the truth or benefit from telling lies. We’re the ones that decide: ‘Do I hate? Or am I filled with love?’ We’re the ones who decide: ‘Will I think only about myself, or do I care for others?’ We ourselves make these decisions, and no one else.
Watch the full speech here:
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