Former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, the first African American woman to hold the post, took the stage Thursday night to kick off a new speaker series called “Insights” at San Jose State University.
Rice spoke about education, immigration, racism and President Donald Trump, among other topics.
She said she would like to expand the national converation about immigration.
"I don’t care if they came to make $5 or 50 cents, immigration is a key part of what makes America what it is," Rice said.
She said she believes it's critical that education be equal in all communities, and the current state of public education in the U.S. needs to be addressed.
"The crisis in K-12 education we’re facing could be one of the biggest threats we face," she said. "There can’t be anymore third graders who can’t read because human potential and people’s belief that they can fulfill their potential is ultimately at the bedrock of democracy."
On racial issues, Rice said she's not persuaded by people who say America has regressed.
"When I hear people say we’ve gone back on race relations I just don’t buy it," she told the audience. "We are not and probably will never be a color blind society. Unless we acknowledge that we’ve made some progress, we’ll never continue to push for it."
“Insights” is a university-wide speaker series underwritten by the Valley Foundation hoping to expose students to a variety of perspectives in economics, business and international affairs.
Rice was the first African-American female appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush in 2001 and later succeeded Colin Powell as secretary of state in 2005.