Jaisaan Lovett graduated from University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men in Rochester, New York, as the first black valedictorian last month—but his principal wasn’t interested in letting him share an emotional speech he had prepared.
Per democratandchronicle.com, Lovett, who landed a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University, planned on thanking his parents, siblings, and teachers until his principal, Joseph Munno, decided to silence him for no apparent reason.
As it happens, though, Lovett has a powerful friend: Mayor Lovely Warren, in whose office he works as an intern.
Warren invented Lovett to City Hall to deliver his speech, in which she posted to the city’s official YouTube Channel.
“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 said before saying he felt the principal held personal animosity towards him.
“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.”
Lovett acknowledged he and Munno had several disagreements over the past six years. One instance, in particular, occurred when he led a student strike to claim the school wouldn’t order needed safety equipment for a lab.
“There’s a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it,” Lovett told democratandchronicle.com. “(Munno) is a guy that doesn’t like to be told ‘no.'”
Lovett says he wasn’t approached to deliver a speech but when he requested permission Munno turned him down.
“He didn’t want to see the speech or what it said, nothing,” Lovett said. “He just said no.”
See Lovett’s full speech above.