“My valedictorian speech was cut short because I said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality,” Rooha Haghar wrote on Twitter.
On June 3, Haghar posted the video of her speech on Twitter. It has since then amassed over 30,000 retweets.
my valedictorian speech was cut short because i said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality. our principal signaled for my mic to be turned off as soon as i said “trayvon martin and tamir rice” and played it off as a technical difficulty. pathetic. pic.twitter.com/9upW3dZ7Mg
— روحا (@ItsRoohaHaghar) June 3, 2019
Haghar was told by both a teacher and the principal at Emmett J. Conrad High School that the content of her speech did not fall within the school district’s valedictorian speech guidelines–which she claims no student has access to.
Haghar was told to remove the section of the speech regarding prominent black boys who were killed. She refused.
Haghar then realized the virality of the post only gave her speech a larger audience. So, she posted her written speech for her newfound online audience to read.
some more context and background information. i really think my principal did this out of ignorance, and we all have room for growth. i never meant to create more divisiveness, but i also feel like certain conversations need to be had pic.twitter.com/1YOEe8a91d
— روحا (@ItsRoohaHaghar) June 4, 2019
Temesghen Asmerom, the principal, can be seen giving hand signals right before Haghar’s mic cuts off. She stands at the podium for a few moments before Asmerom nudges her aside and begins to speak.
Haghar claims Asmerom pretended her mic was cut off due to technical difficulties.
“The day of graduation, I had a choice to make. Do I read the censored speech in the binder or speak the words I had originally written?” she wrote on Twitter.
Haghar knew the risks, yet decided none could come “even slightly close to what the families of the victims have to live with on a daily basis.”
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H/T BuzzFeed News