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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Nine Black educators recognized by Art That Touches Your Heart

Live performances and prayer accompanied the 10th annual celebration of the Black Educator Hall of Fame on Saturday evening. The event, hosted by the Art That Touches Your Heart Foundation (ATTYH) and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), recognized nine black educators as inductees to the Black Educators Hall of Fame.

The full list of inductees are George Rogers, Samuel Allen Jr., June Faucette-Huff, Jean Ponds, Linda Watson-Morris, Bobby Berry, Deborah James, Frank Wooden and Shallruan Thomas.

Berry works at Wichita State as the assistant dean for diversity and outreach for the College of Applied Studies and an assistant professor of sports management.

“For me, it’s important to be in the room with these experiences, to be able to advocate for our Black students because they are not at those tables,” Berry said. “I don’t take my job lightly. I thank you all for whoever came before me. I thank this foundation for being able to do what I do every day and live my life and move around as boldly as I do.”

Lola McLaurian, an ATTYH board member, introduced all inductees. Each inductee gave a speech or was represented by a family member if they were not able to attend or deceased.

“Art That Touches Your Heart realizes that if it had not been for the educator or educators in our lives, many of us would not be where we are today,” McLaurian said. “African American educators are part of the backbone of the Black community.”

According to a study from the Brookings Institution, Black students are 7% more likely to graduate high school and 13% more likely to enroll in college when they’ve had a Black teacher by the third grade.

The percentage of Black students who enroll in college increases to 32% when they’ve had two Black teachers.

Wichita Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau presented each inductee, ATTYH, and a select group of others with a certificate from the State of Kansas that recognizes their contributions to education and the Wichita community.

Brandon Johnson, Wichita city councilperson, declared Feb. 24 as Black Educators Day in Wichita on behalf of the city council and Mayor Lily Wu.

Because this was the event’s 10th anniversary, ATTYH recognized the Divine Nine, a group of nine Greek letter organizations that were created by and for Black students at both historically Black colleges and universities and predominately white institutions.

These nine organizations form the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Paraphernalia from each organization is currently on display in the Rhatigan Student Center behind the Looking Glass of the Cadman Art Gallery.

The Cadman Art Gallery is also playing host to artwork in the month of February that celebrates Black History Month and the 70th anniversary of the Brown vs. The Board of Education decision, which ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional and ended legal segregation.

Previous Black Educators Hall of Fame inductees can be viewed here.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Managing Editor
Trinity Ramm is the managing editor and former sports editor for The Sunflower. This is her second year on staff. Ramm is a senior English Lit major and a sociology minor with a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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