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I am a political junkie, and therefore most of the stories I offer my readers are about unpleasant situations and actions. I found this story, and as I read it my eyes began to fill with tears. This is America; the America I know; America at its finest.
I cannot deny that I write some terrible things about red states. However, I am writing about the right-wingnuts who control these states, seldom about the people, and never about the young men and women who will be leading this country very soon.
On September 24th, Forrest County Agricultural High School, in the very small town of Brooklyn, Mississippi, held its school’s homecoming celebration. Of course, there is a football game, but the highlight for many members of the student body is the crowning of the homecoming queen.
At halftime, the 2021 queen was revealed, but this time there was a twist that surprised and pleased everyone.
A.J. Nichols-Walters had been the principal’s secretary for years. Recently, she had been fighting cancer and losing that battle. Her husband of 25 years, Sean, and two daughters, Elisabeth and Brittany, were by her side constantly, hoping for a miracle. Brittany was a senior at the high school and one of the candidates for homecoming queen.
Brittany’s mom begged her to attend the ceremony, telling her it would be a memory she would never forget. She was right, but no one could have imagined how memorable it would be.
The family desperately wanted A.J. to attend the event. But on the 24th of September, the very day of the festivities, A.J. took her last breath.
After discussions with her father and sister, Brittany agreed to keep the promise she made to her mother. Friends hurried to find a gown, and style her hair and apply make-up.
Prior to the announcement of who would be wearing the queen’s crown, the public address announcer asked Brittany’s father, Sean, to escort his daughter to the center of the field to allow the crowd to offer them their love and prayers. They agreed.
Soon after, the envelope was opened, and Nyla Covington was crowned homecoming queen. After the crown was placed on her head, Nyla leaned forward to speak to FCAHS Superintendent, Donna Boone. Nyla then turned, walked back to Brittany, hugged her, and then surprised everyone by taking off her crown and placing it on Brittany’s head.
These two young women epitomize what is good about America, and why I have hope for America. Nyla, who is of African descent, and Brittany, who is white, will share a bond for as long as they live.
All forms of prejudice are displays of ignorance. We are all Americans and share the same hopes and dreams. White, black, rich, poor, Christian, Muslim, heterosexual, or members of the LGBTQ community, we must return to being a family. We cannot allow politicians and bigoted fake news networks to divide us any longer. Politicians believe in “divide and conquer.” We are better than that.
The future is in your hands, and never forget, ‘this is your country, not theirs.’
Op-ed by James Turnage
Daily Kos: Mississippi Homecoming Queen Gives Her Crown To Fellow Student Who Lost Her Mom Earlier That Day. By Tevye
Magnolia State Live: Seconds after becoming homecoming queen, she pulled off her tiara and stunned the stadium
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of JRR2000’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of dotpolka’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License