Last month, an 11-year-old boy was arrested at Lawton Chiles Middle School in Lakeland, Florida after he refused to stand for the national anthem. Now, with the help of Roc Nation, the child—6th grader Jabari Talbot—is free.
In case you missed it, when little Jabari expressed his view that “the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people,” he was met with an aggressive response from his teacher Ana Alvarez. She asked why doesn’t he just leave the country if he hates it here so much, to which he responded “They brought me here,” according to BayNews9.
“Well you can always go back because I came here from Cuba,” she reportedly told the young kid “and the day I feel I’m not welcome here any more I would find another place to live.” Alvarez then called the main office because she didn’t want to deal with him anymore, the site states.
“According to the arrest affidavit, the student was arrested by the school resource officer because he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist and was disruptive,” BayNews9 reports. “They said he threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher.”
After hearing about Jabari’s arrest, Team ROC got involved to help out. Alex Spiro (the same famed attorney Jay-Z got to take on 21 Savage’s deportation case) said in a statement, according to Complex:
“Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs. He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment.”
Spiro took on Jabari’s case pro bono—and he’s no joke, as it has since been dismissed…
“My son and I are grateful for all the athletes, entertainers, Roc Nation and community of supporters that have raised awareness about this injustice and showed their support—both publicly and privately,” Jabari’s mom Dhakira Talbot said, according to Complex. “Although Jabari’s case has been dismissed, I do want people to know this isn’t just about my son—this prejudice happens to African-American kids all across the country. The fight isn’t over, which is why I have a civil rights complaint pending with the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that no child ever has to experience this injustice again and we will appreciate everyone’s continued support.”
Jabari, we salute you king! Keep standing up for what’s right.