Friday, May 2nd, 2014
A group of churches in Memphis have organized their first-ever prom for teenagers who live with disabilities like Down syndrome. More from ABC News on the “Memphis Joy Prom:”
[The prom was] complete with a red carpet, a makeup station, limos and tiaras for everyone. They had a prom dress donation drive in March, and a church member offered to cover tuxedo rentals from Men’s Warehouse, so the 110 attendees didn’t have to spend a dime.
“This was our first one, and it was unbelievable,” organizer Ashley Parks told ABCNews.com.
Parks said one parent sent a heartfelt note thanking her for loving her children “as much as God loves them.”
“We all cried over it,” she said. “It was one of many.”
But what made the Joy Prom different was that it allowed people 16 and up to attend. She said a couple with disabilities in their 60s went to Joy Prom because they never got to go to one when they were in high school.
Image: Prom corsage, via Shutterstock
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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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Friday, May 25th, 2012
Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. will have 500 condoms available at the school’s upcoming prom for students to take as they see fit. From MSNBC.com:
“As they leave the prom, they are welcome to it,” school principal Darryl Rascoe said in an interview. “We are not forcing it on anybody, but we want them to have that option.”
Worries about underage drinking or risky sex on prom night have prompted scores of prevention programs at schools around the country, from scheduling the event on weeknights to chaperoned after-parties.
But handing out free condoms as part of the festivities is a wrong move, says Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, an advocacy group that resists comprehensive sex education in schools. “We are concerned that the distribution of condoms on school campuses further normalizes teen sex,” she told msnbc.com via email.
Image: Couple at prom, via Shutterstock.
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