Audio Was Cut, Valedictorian Says, at Mention of 'Tamir Rice'

Unfinished speech also mentioned victims of mass shootings
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2019 6:46 PM CDT
Valedictorian Says She Was Silenced for Saying 'Tamir Rice'
A valedictorian at Emmett J. Conrad High School in Dallas said her microphone was cut off during her speech Saturday.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

"To the kids that were murdered in senseless mass shootings; to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and all the other children who became victims of injustice," a high school valedictorian in Dallas began saying Saturday. Then her microphone was cut, NBC reports. Rooha Haghar tweeted an account and a video, which shows her looking around, tapping her microphone, then returning to her seat as fellow graduates cheer. The Emmett J. Conrad principal then goes to the microphone, taps it—it's working again—and addresses the crowd. "My valedictorian speech was cut short because i said the names of black children who had become victims of police brutality," Haghar posted. "Our principal signaled for my mic to be turned off."

Trayvon Martin,17, was shot to death by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer while walking through a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood in 2012; Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy shot to death by Cleveland police after brandishing a BB gun in 2012. The principal and a teacher had told her before graduation day to leave that part of her speech out, Haghar wrote, per USA Today. Haghar said she decide to read the names of young black people killed anyway. "I knew none of the consequences I could possibly face came even slightly close to what the families of the victims have to live with on a daily basis," she wrote. After the opening, the unread text concluded: "To the kids across the globe affected by war, famine, persecution and child labor who have lost years of education due to hunger, displacement, lack of finances and lack of educational resources, I'm sorry." (More valedictorian stories.)

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