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Making moves toward unity
May 24th, 2013
02:45 PM ET

Grads leave lasting legacy: Integrated prom

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) – On Saturday, 68 seniors will graduate from Wilcox County High School in South Georgia, leaving behind a legacy that could last long after they’ve said their goodbyes: Next year, for the first time, their high school will host a prom.

It’s a new tradition in their small rural community, one they hope will eliminate their county’s custom of private, racially segregated proms.

A small group from 2013’s senior class sparked the idea of an integrated prom this year, bucking 40 years of high school tradition.

When their county’s racially segregated schools combined in the early 1970s, the school called off its homecoming dance and prom; it was a volatile time at the newly integrated school, alumni said, and parents and school leaders were wary of black and white students attending the same dance. Like in many other Southern communities, Wilcox County students and parents stepped in to plan private, off-site parties, complete with formal gowns, tuxedos, DJs and décor.

But long after outward racial tension died down, the private, segregated parties in Wilcox County remained – a quiet reminder of racism, students said.

This year, a few white and black seniors organized a prom open to all Wilcox County High School students, whether white, black, Latino or Asian.

Read the full post on CNN's Schools of Thought blog
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Filed under: Education • How we live • Race
In America wins award for race, identity and politics series
May 24th, 2013
10:15 AM ET

In America wins award for race, identity and politics series

by Alicia W. Stewart, CNN In America Editor

(CNN) - It's not often that we toot our own horn, so please allow us a moment.

In America's race, identity and politics series won second place in the Series/Project category from the Society for Features Journalism 25th annual Excellence in Feature Writing Contest.

Moni Basu, John Blake, Jen Christensen and Todd Leopold wrote stories that explored race, identity and politics ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

Read their award-winning pieces:

The optics of politics: Seeing campaigns through a multicultural kaleidoscope
Last white House Democratic congressman in the Deep South fights for political survival
Civil rights icon fighting for change one registered voter at a time
Parallels to country's racist past haunt age of Obama

We are honored for the recognition and so grateful to our readers: Thank you.

See the full list of winners here.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Award • Politics • Race
May 24th, 2013
08:12 AM ET

Boy Scouts to allow gay youths to join

By Phil Gast. Greg Botelho and Devon M. Sayers, CNN

(CNN) - Openly gay youths will be allowed to join scouting, a historic decision the Boy Scouts of America says will keep it unclouded by "a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue."

More than 60% of the group's 1,400-member national council voted Thursday at an annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas, for the change, which takes effect Jan. 1.

"No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," says the resolution.

The BSA, however, will maintain its ban on gay adult leaders.

"The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting," the 103-year-old organization said in a statement after the vote.

The BSA said there are no plans for further review of the issue.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Age • How we live • Sexual orientation