Four students from Killeen ISD’s Early College High School served as a panel during a Black History Month event at Central Texas College in front of around 40 people.

The students fielded questions from panelist Billy Woodson, who is CTC’s director of instructional development.

Topics discussed ranged from how to increase the number of black voters, why it is important for young, black people to vote, jobs, Medicare for all and student loan forgiveness.

The students, part of an organization called Black Students Association, caught the attention of one local poet, Omega McNeal.

“I was really impressed with the panel of young people and how they handled ... answering the questions that they were presented with,” McNeal said after the event.

McNeal said she also thinks it is important for young people to vote.

“It’s your voice,” she said. “It’s your voice to be able to address certain issues, and it’s like if you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

One of the students, Richard Rogers, said people before them fought very hard for black people to obtain the right to vote.

“Why would we not take advantage of it?” he asked.

None of the students will be of age to vote in November’s general election, but they advocated for people to vote.

“Your vote does have a lot of power,” said Robyn Wilson.

Wilson said by not voting, people indirectly cast a vote for the other candidate.

Forressa Harrison, another local poet, was impressed by the whole event.

“There was a lot of diversity,” she said. “Black, white, Hispanic. So it was a really diverse, great event.”

Harrison said black history is something that everyone should learn.

“It’s not just black history,” she said. “It’s our history. Black people are part of history, period, so it’s our history; it’s all of our history.”

The event began with a fashion show of people showing off traditional African dress. The countries represented by participants in the fashion show were Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Haiti, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago.

“It’s just something we put together,” said Dianna Ramos, an English as a second language instructor for CTC on Fort Hood.

Also part of the event was poetry and an open mic session.

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