Brown v. Board 65th anniversary kicks off with a look back and push forward

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Hear Our Voices urged people to look back at the historic Brown vs Board of Education decision and use it as fuel to continue moving forward.

Dale Cushinberry, a retired educator, quoted James Baldwin in saying, “you can’t change what you don’t face.”

“If we don’t revisit [and] discuss, we'll continue to make some of the same mistakes,” Cushinberry said. “We'll continue to move forward without a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to make it better."

Keynote speaker and Howard University Professor Dr. Carlton Waterhouse said he hopes people continue conversations about racism, so children can create a different society.

“Really the children are the ones we have to depend on to produce a society where people's opportunities economically, politically, educationally, are not based on their racial identity,” Waterhouse said. “I want to encourage ongoing conversations about race and racism and the kinds of changes we need to make Topeka, to make Kansas and to make the United States the kind of world we really want to live in."

With so many events planned to mark the 65th anniversary of the ruling, Waterhouse hopes people don't just remember the case, but learn from it.

"What I want it to do though, is to fuel people with a sense of what we can accomplish,” Waterhouse said. “Where we come together and challenge injustices, not just something to look back on and say, ‘I’m glad we won that battle and the war is over.’"

13 NEWS will have continuing coverage all next week covering the legacy and progress from the landmark case.