Who is Ever Lopez? NC high schooler wearing Mexican flag to graduation denied diploma
ASHEBORO, NORTH CAROLINA: A North Carolina high school refused to give a student his diploma on June 3, Thursday, because he wore a Mexican flag over his gown during his graduation ceremony, hoping to support his culture.
Ever Lopez received a diploma holder during Asheboro High School's graduation, but the principal never handed over the actual diploma. The incident's video was widely circulated on Twitter and TikTok.
This comes within two weeks of the Joe Biden administration's dithering over the migrant 'crisis', while Mexico deployed 9,000 troops to stop people reaching the US border. The battle for cultural representation, pride and equality is growing across the United States. In May 2019, a New York teacher was fired for making African-American students act as slaves in a mock auction.
My Twitter people make this go viral. Principle “Mrs. Penny Crooks” denied my cousin his diploma for causing a “disturbance” to the graduation ceremony. pic.twitter.com/7HfKzNGdJ3— ♔ Adolfo Hurtado ♕ (@dolfoohurtado) June 4, 2021
Who is Ever Lopez?
Ever Lopez is a senior at the Asheboro High School. Lopez claimed he carried the flag in and slung it over his shoulders while he sat during the ceremony on Thursday night. Lopez claimed that he was seated near professors and that no one mentioned the flag until he got to the podium. The ceremony was even more special for Lopez, because he was the first in his immediate family to graduate.
“I just gotta represent,” Lopez explained to the Asheboro-Courier Tribune, “I did it for my family. They came over here to give me a better future.” Lopez's diploma was withheld because he disobeyed the school's dress code, according to the school.
Lopez had walked up to the stage when his name was called, ready to receive his diploma, when the principal, who refused to hand it over and spoke with him quietly while a line of students formed behind him. He walked off the stage without his diploma after a few seconds.
Todes somos #EverLopeZ. Doesn’t #pennycrooks know she is on stolen land? I guess now people with Irish background should not be allowed to show the Irish flag on St Patrick’s day? pic.twitter.com/RzyDCRInYj— Karen Aguilar (@sfkarena) June 6, 2021
Lopez and his parents met with school officials after the ceremony, including principal Penny Crooks, according to the Courier-Tribune. Lopez refused to apologize for wearing the flag, as Crooks demanded. “I ain’t apologizing for nothing,” he told the paper, recalling the meeting. “It’s you who should be apologizing. You’re the one doing wrong.”
His mother, Margarita Lopez, cried: “For me that's not fair. That's something for racists.” “I myself was very upset, and I had to contain my emotions because we're in a public area. We had a lot of people with eyes on us,” said Lopez’s cousin, Adolfo Hurtado.
Lopez claims he was told he was being a distraction by the administration, but a statement from Asheboro City Schools claims he was dressed inappropriately. “The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony,” said a statement from Asheboro City Schools. “Our dress code is in place to ensure the dignity of the event is upheld and is fair to all students. Graduation is a milestone event and it is grossly unfair for one individual to diminish this event by violating the dress code.”
Lopez's supporters have started a petition on Change.org called "Give this man his diploma," which has gathered over 25,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon, June 4. “Now I feel joy because I have everybody supporting me,” Lopez said.