BLACK HISTORY MONTH: FHSU students in American Democracy Project and Black Student Union speak out for equality

Black History Month poster 2016

02/29/16 mg/ks
HAYS, Kan. -- February is national Black History Month and members of the American Democracy Project at Fort Hays State University decided to do more than just casually mention the significance of this month in conversation.

Partnering with the Black Student Union and their allies, ADP members wanted to help students express their take on the importance of Black History Month and equality in society by taking photos of students who had written out their feelings on either subject. A wide variety of students participated in this project and voiced high levels of support for the idea. Several are members of the Black Student Union or are students who felt that they needed their voice to be heard about this topic.

Megan Garcia, a Morrison, Colo., freshman and co-student coordinator for ADP, said Kansas Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, recently stated that Black History Month may be too long and that social justice should not be taught in schools. Garcia said the statement caused the project to become more important to the students because they believe Black History Month is incredibly valuable in celebrating the history of America as well as the heritage of African-Americans.

"The students and organizations involved in this project wanted to shed some light on the heritage of Black History Month," Garcia said. "They hoped to empower everyone to be proud of our shared history by coming together to celebrate equality across all groups on the campus of Fort Hays State University and in the community."

The series features photographs of students holding their hand-written signs. Here are two examples:
• Because dehumanizing individuals & groups has gone on long enough! There is NO them. There is only US. -- Jacob Patrick, an Elizabeth, Colo., graduate student
• "If we accept & acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance & concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything … that smacks of discrimination or slander." (Mary McLeod Bethune) -- Patrick Roscoe, a Houston, Ohio, sophomore

The entire series is available for viewing at the American Democracy Project of Fort Hays State University page on Facebook.

For more information, contact or call Megan Garcia at 785-628-5399.

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