Students Discuss Racism and Inequality with Hamilton Co. School Board Member

By Thea Marshall, Staff Writer-

UTC students interviewed Hamilton County School Board Member, Kartisa Mosley Jones on a variety of topics, including racial injustice in the Chattanooga area.

UTC’s history department and Rise Chattanooga teamed up to hold the second event in a three-part series, “The Struggle For Racial Justice and Equity.” On March 16, Jones and the students met over Zoom. 

Twenty students asked Jones around seventeen questions. Students were drawn to Jones’s home life in Chattanooga and the struggles of being raised by a single mother. 

“Students learned Jones grew up in a very supportive environment despite it not looking like what most American’s experience,” Director of Africana Studies Susan Eckelmann said.

Participants asked Jones about her motivation to become a social worker, and she responded that it was not a direct path but rather the field chose her. 

Jones’s educational background and her experience as a Black woman at a historically Black university were also discussed. Jones noted that she felt supported, however, she said she was located in an area where African Americans experienced racism that she was not immune to. 

Questions about Jones’s current work as a school board member were discussed. Students were curious if she experienced any educational inequality or economic barriers. Jones then addressed the “blatant” educational inequality and insufficient access to education for many students. 

Eckelmann said the motivation behind the series was to teach students about issues in Chattanooga. 

“We found that students often do not know about the place they live in, certainly not beyond University limits,” Eckelmann said. “This is a way for students to understand and get to know  the community, and build bridges.”

For more information on Rise Chattanooga and the history department’s events, visit here.

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