NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A high school valedictorian is gaining support online after her speech at her school's graduation ceremony Saturday was cut off as she spoke about racial injustice and protests over the death of George Floyd.
In her purple cap and gown, DayOnna Carson spoke to her classmates on the football field at Central High School in Hamilton County about the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on their senior year and racial tensions across the country.
"The whole world protested the inexcusable murder of George Floyd, and after many long days of demonstration, signing petitions and donating, we are able to give him justice,” Carson said.
“Change starts with ourselves; change starts with our community. Therefore, we must continue (the) work of all the people that came before us by voting not only in national elections but local elections that directly impact us to create the country that we want. We must not let the progress of our ancestors have been in vain,” she continued.
As Carson read the last words of her speech, “No justice, no peace,” from her phone, her microphone was silenced.
A recording of the live ceremony posted on the school’s Facebook page shows Carson walking back to her seat before Central High Principal Phil Iannarone takes the podium.
In the background, some yell, “That ain’t right!”
Carson said not only was her microphone cut off, but she thinks the district's video has also been edited. Many of her peers shouted back, "No justice, no peace" and clapped as she finished her speech, but that sound is missing from the video.