Jones High School takes initiative in honoring Black History Month

JONES, Okla. - For the last year, we've been telling our viewers about News 4's alliance with other media outlets in Oklahoma City called "United Voice." The mission: to promote honest conversations about race relations in Oklahoma City.

Four Oklahoma City men from various backgrounds came up with an idea and, on Monday, they visited a local high school that made big changes in the way they honor Black History Month.

In the time leading up to Black History Month, students and staff at Jones High School started planning.

"We wanted to do something that's different, something that we haven't ever done before and kind of make that the thing that we do from here on out to honor Black History Month," said Principal Mike Watkins.

Through input from students and members of their community, staff decided, each week of Black History Month, they'd write essays and teach the high school students about different people who have had a huge impact on our country.

"What we're trying to talk about is what have black people done throughout history and especially in America, culturally and financially inventions, technologically," said Strong Moore, a senior at Jones High School.

On Monday, students heard from different community leaders from different backgrounds such as law enforcement and religion - all part of the campaign for a United Voice. They're challenging the kids and everyone else they come in contact with to be a driving force for change.

"It's really, really challenging to think of stereotypes for African American males, positive, unless you have an authentic relationship with them, right?" said Wayland Cubit of the Oklahoma City Police Department and United Voice.

There, students have noticed the change.

"I think this is a subject that we haven't got to see a lot, but I'm really proud to see it today," Moore said.

And, the faculty is working to make sure it becomes the new normal.

"Black History Month shouldn't just be in the month of February. It should be year round," Watkins said.

United Voice mission statement: a coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.

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