Wichita-area student speaks to Wichita State students about prejudice, acceptance

Ashlyn Sullivan speaks to a group of students about her experiences with racism regarding her relationship Wednesday.

After being covered by media organizations around the world, Ashlyn Sullivan returned to Wichita and spoke at the Rhatigan Student Center Wednesday to students about her experiences with prejudice.

In January, Sullivan, a waitress in Wichita and student at Butler County Community College, was made famous by a blog post she made entitled “I am not dating a racial slur.,” after encountering racial slurs targeted toward her and her relationship at her job by drunken men in December.

As a result, she has become a figure for interracial couples everywhere, and, for the first time, she spoke in public about the experience on Wednesday — prior, she had only completed private interviews.

“I was terrified,” Sullivan said. “It was kind-of my test run, and I kind-of felt like a guinea pig.”

However, even with the intimidation of speaking for the first time, Sullivan shared some thoughts regarding her experiences, after having been labeled as having parental issues, fetishes and other things regarding her relationship with Ra’Montae Green.

The two have been dating since 2013, and, denouncing the negative experiences, Sullivan also shared with students changes that she wants to see in society.

“I want to be able to see the day when relationships are simply appreciated as relationships,” she said.

“I want to tell others that you can be colorblind while still appreciating how their color makes them a part of who they are.”

Within the first day of her blog post hitting the internet, her post went viral, racking up thousands of views — and the post passed the million-view mark in January.

In the fall, Sullivan will be joining the Wichita State community, transferring from her current institution. She says that she is excited to join the community and appreciates it for its diverse population.

At the end, Sullivan said she wants progression to continue on, with at least one thing sticking in the minds of students:

“Change begins with us.”