Graduates unable to attend ceremonies during pandemic wear robes to George Floyd protests


Some protesters across the country are wearing caps, gowns and other celebratory clothing to protests over the death of George Floyd, as graduation ceremonies have been delayed or canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lee Younger, 18, wore his orange graduation gown and a dashiki, an embroidered garment from Western Africa, to pay respects on Thursday in Minneapolis at Floyd’s memorial, Time Magazine reported.

Datelle Straub, 18, another teenager in the city, carried his high school diploma during a march over Floyd’s death while wearing a red graduation cap and gown, the outlet reported.

Straub, who grew up in Minneapolis, told Time magazine, “We put our cap and gown on to show that there’s black excellence in the community.” 

He added that his in-person graduation ceremony was canceled during the pandemic, but he listened to his school’s graduation stream on his phone and marched while the names of his fellow seniors were read aloud.

“I made the best of it. We didn’t get our school stage, but we got to walk the stage of the streets,” Straub said.

A photo of Deveonte Joseph, 17, wearing a purple cap and gown at a protest in St. Paul, Minn., went viral last week.

Joseph told CNN he wore the celebratory cap and gown “to put positivity in the world.” Photographer Nathan Aguirre took the photo during the protest last week.

“People look at my people like we’re down, like we don’t have anything,” Joseph told CNN. “I just don’t think we’re respected enough.”

Across the country in Oakland, Calif., Louis Michael, a recent graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, protested in a dark blue graduation cap and gown, Time magazine reported.

“There’s this tension of like, do I go out there and risk my life to COVID-19, but not only to getting a disease, but also possibly being shot with a rubber bullet?” Michael said.

Protests have erupted over Floyd’s death across the U.S. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, which was captured on video. 

Derek Chauvin, the officer who was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck, has been fired and charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers who were at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. 

Tags Black Lives Matter Movement Coronavirus George Floyd George Floyd protests graduations Minneapolis Oakland police brutality St. Pail

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