Posts Tagged ‘ Georgia ’

Georgia High School Students End Segregated Prom

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

A group of high school seniors at Wilcox County High School in Georgia are making national news after they organized a formal prom dance that is racially integrated, something that hasn’t happened in the town’s memory.  CNN.com has more:

For as long as most remember, Wilcox County High School hasn’t sponsored a prom for its 400 students. Instead, parents and their children organize their own private, off-site parties, known casually as white prom and black prom — a vestige of racial segregation that still lives on….

Mareshia and her friends bucked 40 years of local customs this month by organizing their own integrated prom, a formal dance open to Wilcox County’s white, black, Latino and Asian high school students. Organizers, both black and white, said they lost friends in the process — a grim experience in the waning weeks of the school year. It’s been hard on the rest of their hometown, too.

When the story erupted on TV and social media, Wilcox County became a symbol of race relations stuck in the past. People around the world heard about the sneers from some classmates, the silence from some adults, the school board that says it supports them but didn’t sponsor its own prom. Thousands lashed out at the old tradition or offered up kind words, cash, dresses, a DJ. Stunned, they wanted to know, could this be true? In 2013?

Segregated proms are a longstanding reality in this farming community 160 miles south of Atlanta, and until recently, at several schools nearby. Some in Wilcox County say it’s just an old habit that’s hard to break. A few argue the proms are private because of cost and liability or because parents won’t cede control. They say people “self-segregate,” and kids can’t agree on country or hip-hop, “white music” or “black music.”

Some say some preachers and some parents implicitly encourage segregation, but there’s no point to arguing: People are entitled to their opinions, even if they’re racist.

Plenty here shrug off the debate entirely and say a high school dance is nothing to make a fuss about.

Mareshia is 17, a good student, a cheerleader who’s active in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. She knew long ago that proms were segregated, but she didn’t think much about it till last year, when she and three friends first realized they’d be split up.

“How do you want your last moments of high school to be,” Mareshia asked herself then. “What do you want your memories to encompass?”

Image: Diverse group of prom-goers, via Shutterstock

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Georgia’s Aggressive Anti-Obesity Campaign Draws Media Fire

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

A new ad campaign aimed at raising awareness and encouraging prevention of an obesity epidemic that affects nearly 4o percent of Georgia’s children is the source of a debate over when anti-obesity messages go too far.  The campaign, which launched this summer at the hospital Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, features captions like “It’s Hard to Be a Little Girl if You’re Not” and “Chubby Kids May Not Outlive Their Parents.”

The hospital is, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, responding to survey research that shows 50 percent of Georgia’s population doesn’t recognize obesity as a problem, and 75 percent of parents of overweight or obese kids don’t believe their children have weight problems.

The Boston Globe’s health blog reports on the debate:

“This campaign is an example of what not to do in obesity prevention,” said Yale University obesity researcher Rebecca Puhl in an interview with the Today show, adding that it “perpetuates prejudice toward childhood toward children who are affected by obesity and already vulnerable to pervasive teasing and bullying because of their weight.” This, she said, makes them more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors and avoidance of physical activity.

Children’s Healthcare said they were spurred to launch the campaign after the latest statistics revealed that one million children in Georgia — nearly 40 percent of the state’s children — are overweight or obese, and that three-quarters of parents with overweight kids don’t see their kids as overweight. In a press release, the hospital called the ads a “tough love” approach.

But some parents are outraged, judging by recent comments on the campaign’s Facebook page. “Horrible!” said one 42-year-old mother who wrote her 6-year-old is “taller and thicker than average” and gets teased all the time. “You have no idea obviously of the damage this will do with the ad. You will hurt more than you help.” Other posters called the campaign a form of bullying.

(Image via: http://www.ajc.com/)

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