University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men’s first Black valedictorian, Jaisaan Lovett, was not allowed to give his speech at his graduation due to his comments about the school’s principal, Joseph Munno, USA Today reports.
“To Mr. Munno, my principal, there’s a whole lot of things I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time. … I’m here as the UPrep 2018 valedictorian to tell you that you couldn’t break me. I’m still here, and I’m still here strong,” Lovett wrote in his speech.
Lovett also thanked his family and friends and said that he has forgiven the principal over the issues the two have with one another.
“And after all these years, all this anger I’ve had toward you and UPrep as a whole, I realized I had to let that go in order to better myself. And I forgive you for everything I held against you,” he said in his speech.
The school did not allow the grad to give his speech and he believes it’s because of past clashes that he’s had with the school, which includes Lovett leading a five-day student strike over the school not ordering safety equipment for a lab, according to USA Today.
“There’s a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it,” he said. “(Munno) is a guy that doesn’t like to be told ‘no,'” he told USA Today.
Lovett works at Rochester, New York’s City Hall as an intern and has developed a friendship with the city’s mayor, Lovely Warren who allowed him to give his speech, which was posted on YouTube.
Lovett will attend Clark Atlanta University in the fall where he’s received a full scholarship.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.