Yes, it’s true. Wilcox County has two proms. Now that we have established that, fact let’s clear up some of the other “facts” that have been reported in various media outlets:
* Wilcox County does not have, and has never had, two separate homecoming courts. Immediately after integration we, like many other counties, did have a black and a white queen, but that ended nearly 20 years ago.
* No student has ever been forcibly removed by law enforcement from any Wilcox County prom. Most proms are not even held in our county due to lack of an adequate facility.
* Students of African-American and Hispanic heritage have attended both proms in the past, and no student was denied the opportunity to purchase a ticket to either prom this year.
* The posters for the integrated prom that were “ripped down” at the high school were taken down by a school employee because they were put up without permission. No prom has been allowed to put up posters at school because prom is a party, not a school function.
The truth is, Wilcox County has traditionally had two proms by choice — not coercion, personal preference, and not pressure. There has not been any attempt to block or prevent students from holding an integrated prom and, in fact, the community has supported both proms in the past by participating in student fundraisers. We’re certainly not perfect in Wilcox County, but we’re not as different from anyplace else as we have been portrayed in the media.
The Wilcox County integrated prom will be held in Crisp County this Saturday night in the middle of what will most likely be a media circus. There will be an event held in Wilcox County on Friday night that won’t have television cameras from FOX news, CNN or WSB. No reporters from the Toronto Star, New York Times or The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will be there.
This event will be held quietly by Wilcox County citizens, young and old, black and white, to combat a very real threat that has touched nearly every family in our county. The citizens of Wilcox County will gather at the recreation department once again for the annual Relay for Life to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Those who have conquered cancer will be recognized, those currently fighting cancer will be prayed for, and those who lost their battle to this dreaded disease will be remembered.
There will be hugs, prayers, conversation and lots of homemade food. This coming event, my fellow citizens of this great country of ours, is a true snapshot of Wilcox County, Georgia.
Wayne McGuinty is a Wilcox County businessman and city council member in Rochelle, Ga.