• "It's more than just images on a backpack": Mom celebrates Brown v. Board of Education

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Today marks 65 years since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that lead to the desegregation of American public schools.

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    Decades later, school districts are still working to ensure students have equal access and resources.

    Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spoke to a mom and local entrepreneur who's found a creative and fashionable way to commemorate the decision and make sure history is not forgotten.

    "A lot of people think, 'That's so long ago. That happened way back then. That was 65 years ago,’" said Casey Kelly.

    But Kelly said the decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 17, 1954, to desegregate American public schools is still relevant now. 

    Right now, there are 202 schools that make up the Duval County School District.


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    If we take a look at the makeup of these schools, you’ll see that the schools with more than 1,000 black students enrolled are located in the north, northwest or western parts of Jacksonville. 

    In comparison, schools with more than 1,000 white students enrolled are located in the areas of The Beaches, Southside and Mandarin.

    "There's still spaces that we're not comfortably allowed in,” Kelly told Cole.

    Kelly, the CEO and co-founder of Blended Designs, created the 1954 line with her son's help.

    “My 10-year-old, at the time he was 8, came up to me and said, ‘Mommy, I want a backpack that looks like me.’ Of course, we couldn't find one,” Kelly said.

    Kelly hopes her backpacks continue to park conversation about the Supreme Court decision and the continuing effort to improve education for all, moving forward.

    “The backpacks themselves are about education. It's about opportunity. And just like they desegregated schools, we're desegregating the back-to-school category,” said Kelly.

    Thousands of students and adults have purchased the backpacks. 

    That's 25,000 backpacks, in 48 states and 12 countries, all with one mission: to empower students.

    For every backpack sold, the profits help a child go to college.

    "We want as many children to be represented as possible. We want children to be able to see themselves. And when they see this backpack, anytime they reach for a pencil, they have an empowering message: I can do anything,” Kelly said.

    To learn more about Blended Designs and the 1954 line, click here.
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