Four high school seniors from Georgia have gained nation-wide attention for trying to throw an interracial prom in their rural community.
The events are reportedly private, invitation-only dances that are organised by parents and students, not the school district. And even though schools have been desegregated for decades in Wilcox County, the dances remain divided.
But now four old friends, Quanesha Wallace, Sephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, and Keela Bloodworth, have decided it’s time to change the policy at their 400-student school.
“We are all friends,” Sinnot told WGXA-TV. “That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together.”
They started a Facebook page to help spread the word about the “Integrated Prom,” which included a fundraising component to raise money for their “Masquerade Ball in Paris” themed dance. At the time of this post, the page had over 13,000 likes.
The four students also pushed the school board to stop segregated proms altogether, but the school only permitted a resolution for an integrated prom, according to WGXA-TV.
“We support the efforts of these ladies, and we praise their efforts to bring our students together,” Superintendent Steve Smith said on the Wilcox County Schools website. “I am pleased to report that WCHS Principal Chad Davis has stated that his Leadership Team will place the 2014 Prom on its agenda for its next meeting.”
So far the friends have sold 50 tickets for their prom, though CNN reports that they’re hoping to reach 100.
Still, not everyone is a fan of their idea: “I put up posters for the ‘Integrated Prom’ and we’ve had people ripping them down at the school,” Bloodworth told WGXA-TV.
Wilcox is not the first Georgia county pulled into the spotlight by racially-divided dances. In 2002, Taylor County High School near Columbus, Georgia threw its first integrated prom that was featured on CNN and Good Morning America (though the following year, white students reverted back to a whites-only prom), and in 2009 Montgomery Count High School in Mount Vernon, Georgia also received media attention for holding two separate proms for black and white students.
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