On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a unanimous decision that not only outlawed school segregation policies, but also helped the civil rights movement’s quest to end Jim Crow laws affecting everything from black getting a seat on buses to voting rights and everything in between. This year marks the 60th anniversary of what is known as Brown vs The Board of Education of Topeka, KS and also the first time Michelle Obama was asked to be a keynote speaker for the Topeka school district high school graduation. Unfortunately, some parent and student are no pleased with the invite stating her presents will mean fewer seats from family and friends. “I’m a single mother who has raised [my son] for 18 years by myself,” Tina Hernandez, the parent of a Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight, told the Associated Press. Many parents and student spoke out last week at a school board meeting including Ms. Hernandez, urging them to un-invite the First Lady of the United States. Apparently Kansas is not united with the other states and the First Lady. Many say this is not about race nor about disrespecting the FLOTUS, but clearly about directing the attention on the student. “People think it’s a great opportunity, but it’s the graduates’ time. They are getting that diploma that they worked so hard for,” Taylor Gifford, 18, who started an online petition to urge the district to reconsider its plans, told the Associated Press. “Families are feeling that they are being cheated out of the loved ones special day.” According to the NYPost.com Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka school district, said Friday discussions were under way to work out the logistics and planning for the event, including how many tickets each family would be allotted.
“We will have a clearer picture of what’s going on,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said officials asked the president or first lady to speak at graduation as a tie-in with the anniversary of the Brown decision, which outlawed school segregation. The district plans to place a priority on seating students and their families, and could broadcast the event to an overflow room at a hotel adjacent to the graduation arena for those unable to find a seat inside in statement to the Post. Word has surface that each student would be able to invite seven guest to the graduation but to Ms. Giiford that is totally not good enough and stated “I really would like it to have a peaceful solution, but there is so much misinformation going on”.
Michelle Obama, who started Let’s Move! a campaign to end childhood obesity in the U.S., is a prime example of what the Brown vs The Board of Education of Topeka decision help black people accomplish by allow equal education for all races in the United States. She is the perfect candidate for keynote speaker on such an important day in a young adults life but some just don’t see it that way.
“No disrespect for the first lady, and it’s amazing that she wants to come speak, I just think it doesn’t belong at graduation,” Abbey Rubottom, a Topeka High School senior described herself as a “die-hard Democrat” but doesn’t like the idea of Obama sharing the stage with graduates, told the Associated Press.
Many have being commenting on different articles about this subject on different website in favor and against Ms. Obama being the keynote speaker. One comment from Traboe writes:
” If they don’t want her their loss. I don’t see this about race; just another example of how younger generations are unable to look outside themselves and their situations in order to see a big picture. Many of them probably do not even know what Brown v. Board of education is. Highschool graduation a big day? Yeah if that’s as far as you plan to go in your pursuit of education.
Another commenter name Joe Valdez writes:
“By the way several African Americans signed the petition. And Please don’t refer to them as Uncle Toms , They are all married with Black women , they all work hard to help stabilize the Black community , unlike The Obama’s who have done nothing for Black except for talking . Have you seen the CNN documentary called ” Chicago Land” ? Blacks have to be coaxed with MC Donald food coupons to attend schools/ Balck on Black Murder out of control including this Easter weekend where 75 Blacks were shot by Fellow Blacks, 7 were killed ? How about Detroit being Bankrupted by Blacks . Obama better take care of his own city Chicago , Kansas have the 3rd highest rated schools in America, whereas Chicago Black high scholl grads are reading at a grade 6 level.”
While another comment by Anon states:
“This article leaves out a LOT of information… She is not speaking at ONE high school; several schools will have to combine their ceremonies. As a result, the graduates’ names will not be read, and diplomas will not be presented. I wholeheartedly agree that it is an amazing honor to have the First Lady address the graduates, but her address is actually REPLACING graduation.”
What I would like to say to all protester is that it seem to me that even if she don’t speak a keynote will still be assigned to speak and the names will still not be read, and diplomas will still not be presented. To many people fall for the propaganda because they refuse to use their own judgement. One guy (Joe Valdez) said “unlike The Obama’s who have done nothing for Black except for talking”, as if he cares. His name clearly says he is not of Africa descent. And the article was about the First Lady, why is he commenting on Chicago and Detroit when the article is about Kansas. Just goes to show you that simply being an agent can cause disruption and misinformation among many. So to all of you. I say to you, don’t listen to the BS other are saying because the importance of that day alone is of great significance and to have a person of that notable worth speak at ones graduation can leave and impression for a lifetime.
By Darrell Hughes