BOSTON, June 11, 2013—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley issued a call to service in his commencement speech to graduates of West Roxbury Academy at Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena last night.
Invited to address some 1500 audience members, Conley urged graduating seniors to “consider the nobility of service – service to your city, your nation, and your fellow men and women.”
Conley is the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. Prior to taking office in 2002 as Suffolk County’s 14th district attorney, he served for eight years on the Boston City Council, acting for several terms as chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. Before that, he served as an assistant district attorney for nine years in the office he now leads, prosecuting homicides and other serious felonies including drug trafficking, non-fatal shootings, and intimate partner violence. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was one of a handful of state prosecutors named to Massachusetts’ first anti-gang violence task force.
Conley has been honored with the Boston Bar Association’s Distinguished Public Servant Award for his efforts to identify, correct, and prevent wrongful convictions; the My Life My Choice Project’s Beacon of Light Award for his work to protect the child victims of commercial sexual exploitation; and other awards from Suffolk University Law School, the Sons of Italy, Rotary International, and Stop Handgun Violence.
“You are going off into a world where a great deal of work needs to be done,” Conley told the crowd. “In the next few years, as you develop your interests and hone your skills, you’ll be in a position to take some of that work on as your own. It may be in politics. It may be in law. It may be in medicine or technology or media or the arts. But in each and every one of these fields, and in every field you can contemplate, there is room to help.”
Recalling the heroism of first responders at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings, the urgent care provided by doctors, nurses, and clinical staff at Boston’s hospitals, and the ongoing work of physical therapists, trauma counselors, and even tradesmen to help victims overcome life-altering injuries, he reminded the graduates that people from all walks of life have found ways to help one another in a time of crisis.
“We can do small things in a great way, or we can do great things in a small way,” Conley said. “But no matter what we do or how we do it, the ability to help lies in each and every one of us. By nurturing that ability, embracing it, and acting on it, we don’t just benefit the people around us – we benefit ourselves and our communities as well.”
West Roxbury Academy provides a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on business, graphic arts, and marketing that helps prepare students for college, careers, and service. Conley was invited to address its graduates by Headmaster Rudolph Weekes.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.