Education is important to a better unified Mercer
(Editor’s Note: For Black History Month, the Harrodsburg Herald is giving voice to Black community leaders on how to bridge the gap and improve racial relationships.)
This past December, Lisey Mays graduated from Campbellsville University and started her dream of becoming a teacher.
Inspired by teacher Jean Bryant, Mays has known she wanted to be a teacher since first grade. Currently, she is a second grade teacher at Toliver Intermediate School in Danville.
“I’ve always wanted to be around kids and be a safe haven. If kids don’t have some place safe to be, I want them to know they are always safe with me,” she said.
Mays took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day planning committee when she was part of the minority leadership program at Mercer County Senior High School and was a host for the event while in high school.
Mays feels one way to bring better unity to the community is through education.
“Everyone needs to be educated on different races and ethnic groups,” she said. “By learning about Martin Luther King Jr. from MLK Day, for myself and from my family, I learned that there were people who fought for our civil rights that weren’t black.”
She also feels the activities and education that happen on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February need to be expanded and should be more than just one day or one month a year.
“With COVID, it’s been hard to do some important things to improve relations, and by not getting to do them, things are not necessarily getting better,” she said.
Growing up, Mays said she never really experienced anything she felt was racially motivated, but believes it’s still important to educate children on what racism is.
“I may just have second graders, but I think it’s important to teach them it’s not right to be unkind to someone because of the color of their skin and that people used to be that way,” she said.
She hopes education will allow others to see different view points and allow for understanding between different people with different backgrounds and experiences.
“You can’t have a true understanding of your side until you take time to understand both sides,” said Mays.