ABBEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – NAACP leaders addressed Wilcox County School Board members at this week's work session urging them to put an end to the prejudice and sponsor a prom.
"They may say, well we're not endorsing it, we're not holding it," said Edward DuBose, President of the Georgia NAACP, "your silence means that you're endorsing it, your silence means that your embracing something that is so wrong in 2013."
Currently, Wilcox County's school system doesn't sponsor any school proms. For nearly 30 years now, parents have funded separate segregated 'proms'. Now a group of students are working to change that.
Mariesha Rucker and several of her friends started raising money to host the county's first ever integrated prom. Their journey has sparked national attention and conversations about race and skin color across the county. Wilcox County School Superintendent Steve Smith applauded the students' efforts and hopes to move forward with sponsoring a prom in 2014.
"I'm excited that my high school principal has taken the initiative to say that the high school is going to step forward with its leadership and address the issue," Smith said.
Smith said this is the first time a group of students has come before the board with plans to host an integrated prom. While he was aware of the separate segregated proms in the past, he did not say why they waited until now to make a change.
"We've had some conversations about it," Smith said
The conversations have turned into criticism for the group behind the proposed prom. On Tuesday, Rucker and her friends returned to school from spring break and some of their classmates didn't greet them kindly.
"People have said things like 'black people don't like white people and white people don't like black people so just leave them alone,'" Rucker said, "but things like that don't really get to me."
"One may think it's been erased but it's not, it's still there," said Vickie Kemp, Rochelle City Council Member, "and maybe they're under the surface or maybe they're hidden but it's still there."
The integrated prom will be held April 27 in Cordele.