The valedictorian speech delivered at the graduation ceremony of Dallas’ Emmet J. Conrad High School by Rooha Haghar, an Iranian immigrant, was cut short as she began to list names of young Black men who lost their lives as “victims of injustice.”
Haghar explained to KXAS-TV that she and her famiy left Iran when she was 12 to escape religious persecution.
The valedictorian said officials at the school cut off her microphone after she spoke out on behalf of the young people whose deaths were allegedly due to racism.
Haghar wanted to include the names of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown–and did mention the first two before the mic was cut–but she was asked by the principal to remove them to avoid being political. “It made me feel sick, honestly, because I was close to their age and knowing this is a reality that Black families have to deal with,” she told KXAS.
“I never expected to be silenced,” Haghar remarked. “The consequences I was expecting to face was them holding my diploma or having a conversation with my principal.”
She added, “I never expected them to not allow me to finish, because at the end of the day, schools want to raise socially conscious students, students who are able to think for themselves. That’s what I was doing.”
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