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Music mogul Sean “Jay-Z” Carter is constantly using his platform to advocate for justice and civil rights. So when he and his label, Roc Nation, heard about 11-year-old Jabari Talbot getting arrested after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in class, they took action.
On February 4, the 6th grader was confronted by a substitute teacher about not standing up for the Pledge Allegiance. According to Bay News 9, Talbot told the teacher that he believed “the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to Black people.”
She then asked: “Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.” After the student replied “they brought me here,” the teacher said, “Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.”
After calling the office because she “didn’t want to continue dealing with him,” Talbot was arrested for disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence.
Jabari Talbot, an 11-year old student from Lakeland, Florida, was arrested in school after he exercised his right to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. We stand with Jabari and his mother to stop the over-policing and criminalization of Black students. #TeamRoc pic.twitter.com/38wdcLcxai
— Team Roc (@teamroc) February 21, 2019
While the 10th Judicial Circuit in Florida decided not to prosecute, the student’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, turned down the prosecutors’ offer to drop the case if her son completed a diversion program.
“I’m upset, I’m angry. I’m hurt,” Dhakira said. “More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should’ve been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should’ve been taken, it should’ve been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested.”
Roc Nation hired lawyer, Alex Spiro, to take on the 6th grader’s case, and as a result, the entire case ended up being dismissed.
Team Roc, the label’s social justice department, tweeted: “The system tried to force Jabari Talbot into diversion. Jabari did not commit a crime. Guilty plea refused. Case dismissed. We applaud and support you Jabari.”
— Team Roc (@teamroc) March 1, 2019
Kudos to Jay-Z and Roc Nation for their commitment to fighting for justice, civil rights, and a better future for our children.