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First Black Valedictorian at UPrep Rejected to Give Speech, Rochester Mayor Intervened

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” Rochester Mayor Warren said.

Ginny Dang

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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.”

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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Ginny is a junior Psychology major at Trinity College. She aspires to cultivate the spirit of a journalist and an essayist in her quest to become a writer.

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