Jay-Z is committed to social change. From the awareness he raised for Kalief Browder to assisting in helping the likes of Meek Mill and 21 Savage, there’s no denying the music mogul has been a catalyst for groundbreaking initiatives.
Now, the Brooklyn native’s label Roc Nation has helped another young person caught in a social conundrum. Team ROC, the company’s social justice department, contracted lawyer Alex Spiro to assist in the case of Florida sixth grader Jabari Talbot. The student was arrested for refusing to participate in reciting the pledge of allegiance in class, XXL reports.
It was reported last month that Talbot didn’t say the pledge because he felt “the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people.” Reportedly, his teacher Anna Alvarez, who is from Cuba, then asked him why he was still in this country if he did not believe in paying respect to the U.S. flag. He said, “They brought me here.”
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
11-year old Jabari Talbot exercised his freedom of speech by choosing not to participate in the national anthem, which led to his wrongful arrest ◾️ @leonardfournette immediately called to show support & invited him to a game next season ◾️ The case has since been dismissed 🙌 pic.twitter.com/H1vVnNOcYC
— Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) March 6, 2019
Alvarez answered, “Well you can always go back because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here any more I would find another place to live.” Soon after, the boy was arrested, Bay 9 News reports. According to school officials, while he was taken into custody he disrupted the process and was reluctant to comply.
“Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs,” Spiro stated. “He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment.”
— Team Roc (@teamroc) March 1, 2019