ELK GROVE, Calif. - A high school senior was escorted by sheriff’s deputies from a graduation ceremony after he walked across the stage wearing traditional African dress.
Nyree Holmes, a merit scholar at Cosumnes Oaks High School in California, was able to shake hands, cross the stage and graduate, but he was immediately met by police on the other side.
Holmes, was kicked out of the Sleep Train Arena by three Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office deputies, according to Atlanta Black Star.
“I have received a lot of support and outrage from fellow minorities as well as white people, who see the infringement upon my freedom of expression as appalling and shocking,” Holmes told Atlanta Black Star.
Holmes, 18, shared his graduation experience in a series of tweets.
@nyreehesr so I tell him "no this is mine".The mason proceeds to tell me that I cannot walk the stage with it on. And I respond" but I will"— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr to be forced not to take pride in who I am. I them asked him if "his agenda was worth more than my cultural pride" he then says..— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so I tell him no as well, so I see mason storm out to get the police to get me before I walk. I get to the stage and I think I'm— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr at the bottom of the stairs. They tell me to leave with them and I said "sure guys let's go". As I'm walking out I call my mom to— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so I get outside and walk to my family and tell them what happened and my dad takes my cap gown and id to try and get my diploma— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so my dad comes across this security guard (black of course) that gets me into the exit to get my diploma. And then he takes— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
Holmes wore the kente cloth as a symbol of pride. A kente cloth is a traditional African cultural robe highlighted by bright colors and multi-patterned designs.
“I wanted to wear my kente cloth as a representation of my pride in my ancestors, to display my cultural and religious heritage,” Holmes told Atlanta Black Star. “(And) my particular cloth was made by Christians in Ghana, where the kente cloth has been worn by royalty and during important ceremonies for hundreds if not thousands of years.”
Holmes plans to attend California State University-Fullerton in the fall.
Police Escort Black Merit Scholar Out of Graduation After Refusing to Remove Kente Cloth: "I have no firm connectio… https://t.co/vKqB4YKvPV— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) May 27, 2016
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