Coreco JaQuan Pearson, the 13-year-old who caught political attention for criticizing President Barack Obama and standing behind Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign has changed his tune, making the decision to abandon the GOP party.
In letters to CNN and The Washington Post over the holidays, the outspoken teen explained he didn’t want to be remembered as the “anti-Obama kid” and instead hopes to lead discussions about politics, not sensationalize it.
But the main reason he left Cruz’s campaign earlier this month was the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Pearson told reporters after he watched video of the 17-year-old being shot 16 times by Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke that he didn’t believe Cruz was doing a service to the American people by ignoring racial injustices and gender disparities.
“I was tired of being a champion of a party that turned a blind eye to racial discrimination,” Pearson wrote. “Tired of being a champion of any cause that denies equal rights to every American. Tired of being a champion of a party that doesn’t care about the issues important to young people. Over the past few days, I thought about essentially how I don’t want people to follow me because I’m that anti-Obama kid, or who called out Hillary Clinton or who took Bernie Sanders to task, I don’t want to be the conservative wonder kid that people follow because I make them feel good and like young people are part of their movement. I want to be followed because I’m the voice of a generation that doesn’t have a voice at the table.”
He also told The Washington Post his moment of clarity was affected by the annual “SlutWalk,” recently headlined by Amber Rose. Before the model attached her name to the transnational movement, it was widely celebrated for denouncing rape culture after a Toronto officer claimed women shouldn’t dress like “sluts” in light of a 2011 sexual assault case.
“My change of heart comes on the heels of an impactful conversation with my good friend, 13-year-old Evrie,” said Pearson. “There’s this big event called the Slut Walk — have you heard of it? It’s kind of like a feminist statement, where young women dress provocatively, to make the point that nothing a girl is wearing is an excuse to assault her. She was defending that, and I said: You’ve got a point. Then we started talking about racial justice.”
Pearson then posted what he said is his final video discussing McDonald’s death. He plans to find other ways to spread his views and speak up for his generation.
Via The Washington Post:
“Both parties don’t have the best track record when it comes to racial discrimination but that’s okay,” he offered. “Why? Because it’s up to people of color to help them understand. Being 13 years old, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a personal type of racism but systemic racism still definitely exists. That’s a problem that needs quality policy solutions. I remember sometimes wanting to speak about an incident, and not being brave enough to do so, because I’d lose fans,” he said. “I don’t think like that anymore.”
Pearson also extended a conversation invite to popular activist Deray McKesson on Twitter.
With the teen free to voice his political opinion without any parties attached, time will only tell how far his stance on the nation’s toughest issues will go.
Check out his video above.