On July 2, a video posted by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Twitter and Youtube went viral.
Jaisaan Lovett from Rochester, New York, had just become the first black valedictorian in the history of University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men (UPrep). Like all other valedictorians, he was looking forward to giving a speech at the commencement ceremony. But he didn’t get this chance.
According to Lovett, he was rejected when he sought permission to give remarks from the principal, Joseph Munno. The reasons remain unclear.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, for whom Lovett works as an intern, gave him a chance to deliver his speech on her channel. Jaisaan Lovett is heading to study at Clark Atlanta University with a full scholarship this fall.
Mayor Warren said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men…[Jaisaan] tells other students here in Rochester that it is possible for them that it can be done…Unfortunately Jaisaan’s school did not allow him to give his valedictorian speech…For some reason, his school, in a country where freedom of speech is a constitutional right, and the city of Frederick Douglass, turned his moment of triumph into a time of sorrow and pain.”
This year, in which we recognize Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday, Jaisaan Lovett became the first African American valedictorian at UPrep.
But he was denied the opportunity to give his address.
In this video, Mayor Warren gave him that chance. https://t.co/71q8PTN448
— City of Rochester NY (@CityRochesterNY) July 2, 2018
After that, The UPrep Broad of Trustees took action on Facebook page to announce that they would “[review] the circumstances regarding what happened and looking into the related guidelines and school policies. For confidentiality reasons, the school isn’t able to speak about the specifics of this situation.”
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