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Agnew: Equality now in schools
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Magna Vista High School Principal Gracie Agnew said separate but unequal education is a racial obstacle that has been eliminated.
“Martinsville-Henry County has come far in terms of race relations,” she sad.
For example, before school consolidation, some schools were identified primarily with one race or another, but that no longer is the case, she said.
Schools today are focused on producing students who are college, career and citizen ready — “everything that would want to make a business want to move here,” she said.
Another area of improvement she mentioned were that some black residents hold prominent positions in this community and other areas to which they have moved, positions such as school principals and company presidents.
When asked about the relevancy today of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Agnew referred to his comment in the speech: “... The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”
Today, she said, America is “not crippled so much by manacles of segregation and discrimination, but by poverty.”
“Doors of opportunity have been opened in terms of education and opportunities to succeed, but when you don’t have jobs and there are so many people in poverty. That’s a battle for all of us. It knows no race. It’s generic to all,” Agnew said.
“We need to come together as brothers and sisters to fight” the “urgency of our economic plight, impacting our whole nation,” she said.
“Racial profiling is a battle we need to fight,” she said.
As for the current state of local racial relations, Agnew said, “I feel Martinsville-Henry County is receptive to talking about problems that may exist.”
“...The faith-based community will work together in terms of discussing things they think are not right,” she added.
Agnew was named the 2013 Outstanding High School Principal of Virginia by the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals and is in the running for the National Principal of the Year award.