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Peyton Wilson

Peyton Wilson

My activism work started my second year of high school when my city’s school board fired the first Black woman principal in the history of our school. In the one year she served as principal, our detention and suspension rates were outstandingly lower, fewer fights happened in school, and our test scores were higher. For the first time, Black students felt cared for and seen at our school; but because of the racial hierarchy of my town and school system at the time, she was fired for not being “the right fit.” This infuriated Black students, so we organized a protest at the next school board meeting and called the news. We gained a lot of attention, but they did not rehire her. However, it started a much needed discussion about the painfully racist history of my school system and town, dating back to the transatlantic slave trade.

That event really lit a fire in me and I began working with my local NAACP chapter during July of 2016 after the murders of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling. I protested and fought relentlessly that summer, and carried on my activism work that school year as Assistant Editor of my school newspaper. My third and fourth years of high school I continued using my platform on the school paper to bring light to important issues of racial injustice, despite some push back from school administration. I also continued my work with the NAACP as a youth organizer, and helped get young people registered to vote.

Going into my first year of college I decided to take a break from hands-on activism and wrote about social issues for my website and our Black magazine on campus. My second year, I continued to write and began organizing various on campus initiatives dedicated to cross cultural conversations and racial injustice. Now going into my third year, I am the Executive Vice President of our Black Student Union where we have been working to decrease the presence of police on our campus, remove the names of racists and slave owners from university buildings, and are leading educational efforts for our university on Black life, Black issues, and other anti-racist work. I am currently studying Political Communication with an intended minor in Sociology and hope to one day be a professor and do research on education/information access in communities of color and expectations of civic engagement.

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