San Jose, Calif. – San Jose State made national headlines last weekend for crowning the first African-American homecoming king and queen. However, Associated Students, the host behind the tradition, is not surprised by the selection.
Just one week prior to Homecoming, Dr. Harry Edwards — advocate for human and civil rights — spoke at the SJSU Legacy Week rally, and quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, highlighting the importance of judging people based on the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.
Daniel Harris-Lucas and Diana Busaka were selected because of their relentless work ethic, academic success and devotion to helping students and community. They serve as role-models to SJSU students of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
NBC Bay Area, The Huffington Post and other major news outlets picked up story, but left out that homecoming king and queen is more than a crown, title, or contest that you win based off of popularity or race.
“We started seeking applications in September,” said Brea Watts, assistant marketing coordinator at A.S. “Our marketing department, with help from the Dwight Bentel & Hall student-run public relations/advertising agency on campus, used special props and social media to increase awareness about homecoming, and encourage students to apply to be recognized for their achievements.
Candidates go through a rigorous selection process of applications and interviews, and win their title based on merit. The SJSU community and national news outlets across the nation should focus on the contributions that Harris and Busaka have made, just as they did with Latino, Asian, and other diverse groups that have won in the past.”
Although Harris, a 22-year-old public relations major from Oakland, California ran because of lack of African-American male representation on the court previous years, his ultimate goal was to prove “that all the struggling and adversity that I had gone through did not determine my life.”
Busaka, on the other hand was encouraged to apply through the support of her close friends, and felt a need to step out of her comfort zone. While completing the application, she became aware of how dedicated she has been to students and the campus community.
Dedication to the campus community
“I was truly amazed and proud to see the long list of accomplishments I have made at SJSU,” she said.
Their skin color was a milestone for the diverse population at San Jose State, but their resumes, achievements, cover letters, and charisma are the real heroes at work.
“The media may have been surprised, but A.S. is committed to supporting students of all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds,” Watts said. “We are excited our students received mass media attention, and hope that this inspires fellow Spartans.”