Two of the student organizers of the first integrated prom for a Georgia high school told Democracy Now anchors Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez that Gov. Nathan Deal's (R) reluctance to back them could come back to haunt him politically.
"It really shocked me," Wilcox County High School student Brandon Davis said in an interview on Friday. "And as me having a military part of a background, I've never heard anyone, quote-unquote, 'commit political suicide' so fast. And just by saying that, does he not realize the students who are supporting this and putting this together are ages of 17 and 18 and legal voting age? He just, like—it just—it really, really dug deep with me."
When asked by the activist group Better Georgia if Deal would endorse the integrated dance, a spokesperson for the governor said he would not comment on the issue, saying, "This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we're not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt."
Goodman pointed out that Deal issued a separate statement in which he said school events "should not have the distinction or discrimination made based on race or gender or any other separation," but not directly addressing Wilcox County's prom. Instead, Deal said, "it appears to me that the parents and students have worked that out on their own, as they should."
Another organizer, Mareshia Rucker, said that the group behind the prom started working on the event during their junior year. The Rochelle, Georgia school stopped organizing a prom after being desegregated 30 years ago, instead hosting segregated prom and homecoming dances.
"We decided that we get along with everyone, we all do everything together," Rucker said of her class. "So there was no reason for us to have a prom that excluded any one of us."
Rucker also criticized a newspaper column by Rochelle City Council member Wayne McGuinty in which he supported the practice of segregated proms by saying they were done by choice.
"That's just their way of making a cop-out, because they don't want to acknowledge the fact that if adults had done what they were supposed to do, then we as students, would not have been having to do this right now," Rucker said. "Because our community is so very small-minded, and racism runs really deep here, no one wants to acknowledge that because they've been living in this for so long. But reality is that students not wanting it or not coming up with the idea is like -- that's false information. He did not tell the truth about that."
Watch the interview, aired on Democracy Now on Friday, below.
[Image via Wikipedia Commons]