Graduate escorted off stage for wearing kente cloth

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.

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Holmes, 18, shared his graduation experience in a series of tweets.

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.
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