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Valedictorian’s anti-racism message sparks controversy: ‘I wanted a wake-up call’

REGARD: Valedictorian’s anti-racism message sparks controversy

A valedictorian who gained attention for her speech on anti-racism speaks about the importance of her video, which has been viewed by thousands.

Jada Tulloch, a senior at Middletown High School North in Middletown, New Jersey, shared her words on Instagram on June 1 after her classmates protested against a virtual graduation ceremony.

The 18-year-old told “Good Morning America” ​​that her video received mixed reactions from community members.

“They’re emotionally charged words that provoked a reaction, but that’s exactly what I wanted,” Tulloch said. “There are so many problems in my community but no one really talks about them. I wanted a wake-up call.”

Jada Tulloch

Jada Tulloch, a senior and valedictorian at Middletown High School North in Middletown, New Jersey, is gaining attention for her anti-racism speech, which was seen by thousands.

Tulloch said the aftermath of George Floyd’s death caused her to shift her focus from closure to expressing a desire for change.

“For me, graduation represents the fact that I survived years of racial discrimination, oppression and vile comments from the narrow-minded people I surround myself with in this godforsaken city,” Tulloch said in her video. “So if I don’t care about graduation right now, I don’t know how you could.”

Given the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the way they were victims of police brutality, it’s hard to grow up and see people who look like you treated so vilely .

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She continued: “Put your energy into something that really matters and stop trying to devalue the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality protests by highlighting the injustices minorities face.” , compare with the oppression you face at the hands of the Board of Ed.” .”

The video has over 28,000 views and more than 1,400 comments.

Jada Tulloch’s anti-racism message on her social media goes viral, prompting her high school to respond before graduation.

On June 4, School Superintendent William George released a public statement about Tulloch’s video, writing in part: “Racially insensitive words by a few do not represent the views of any community” or Middletown Township Public Schools.

“We support our Middletown High School North valedictorian Jada Tulloch in using her voice to share her perspective and speak out against racism,” George wrote, adding that he looked forward to hearing Tulloch’s valedictorian on April 18. heard in June.

George also pointed out that hundreds reached out to Tulloch’s post, which was shared publicly on her own Instagram page.

“A lot of parents thought I was rude and said, ‘Our kids shouldn’t care about Black Lives Matter right now. They should worry about their future,'” Tulloch said of the comments.

“People got mad at me, but it’s not about me,” she added. “Given the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and the way they have been victims of police brutality, it is hard to grow up and see people who look like you treated so vilely .”

Jada Tulloch

Jada Tulloch, a senior at Middletown High School North in Middletown, New Jersey, gave an anti-racism speech on Instagram on June 1. The 18-year-old told “Good Morning America” ​​that her video received mixed reactions from community members.

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Tulloch proposes a redesigned curriculum that focuses on minority history and is taught from a non-Eurocentric perspective.

When it comes to promoting education about racial injustice and oppression, Tulloch said the conversation starts “in your own hometown.”

“Young people have a voice and when they experience something negative, they should turn that into strength,” she added. “Everyone has the right to accept themselves as they are and not suffer backlash for their existence.”

Tulloch will deliver her valedictory address later this month at a graduation ceremony where social distancing will be observed.

She leaves high school with a 4.0 grade point average, was president of the environmental club, president of a drug and alcohol prevention group and a member of Model UN.

Tulloch is attending Columbia University in New York in the fall and is considering medical school or a career in the humanities.

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