Marquette seniors Janaya Blakely and Myah Jackson were recognized by Michigan City mayor Duane Parry last week after the duo were chosen as winners in the 2020 Michigan City Human Rights Commission Black History Month Contest.
The contest asked students to express their thoughts on the theme, "African Americans Whose Vision and Works Have Impacted the Future."
Blakely addressed the racial and gender-related discrimination faced by Sojourner Truth. "Sojourner Truth impacted the future by decreasing the gaps of intersectional feminism, where white women weren't the only people benefiting from women's rights movements. She bridged the gap for black women and made sure 'black rights' included black women and that they gained the same rights as black men," Blakely wrote.
Jackson highlighted the works of Huey Percy Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Jackson concluded her essay with the following: "His strength is what I seek now. His legacy of being courageous and liberating the minds of young black people compels me to want to do the same for my country, so that black Americans can finally be free from the shackles of systemic racism and oppression."
Blakely, who owns a 3.76 cumulative grade-point average, plans to attend Florida A&M University in the fall. Jackson, who possesses a 3.5 cumulative GPA, currently plans on attending Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.