​​Allmond encourages students to stand up for their rights

Yvonne Allmond​TowneBank Senior Vice President, Private Banking Yvonne Allmond spoke to ​upper school ​students on Tuesday, Feb. 21, about the importance of standing up for what they believe is right. 

Allmond, a graduate of the Civic Leadership Institute Class, YWCA Woman of Distinction Honoree and a NAACP Presidential Award recipient, spoke to students in honor of Black History Month.

She recalled her childhood experiences in different states as part of her military family upbringing and her education in some regions that were still segregated, including Hampton.

"I was to be starting kindergarten a few years after the Brown vs. the Board of Education,” she said referencing the historic court decision that declared separate schools for black and white students unconstitutional. “I didn’t go to kindergarten because I couldn’t take the bus into school and had to ride the HRT,” she said. “I rode the HRT in first grade to get to school.”

Allmond continued and encouraged students to "do everything in your power not to make others feel less than."

“You should take it upon yourselves to learn your own culture, whether your family is from Europe, Africa or Asia,” she said. “That way you know where your people came from and what they did. That way you know your history and can be proud. …If you feel you need to stand up for somebody, stand up for them. You have to be principled enough to stand up for them.”

Despite the advances our nation has seen over the past 40 years, Allmond stressed that we were still in need of advancement.

“People don’t realize that the right for black people to vote expired every five years,” said Allmond. “It still is not permanent. Bush voted to extend it for 25 years,” she told students, referencing the Senate vote in 2006 to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, which was later signed by President Bush. The act protects the ability of minorities and the disadvantaged to cast ballots in some regions of the country.

Allmond closed with a powerful question for the audience by asking, “the next time the voting rights comes up, are you going to be standing up saying you can’t vote? It’s up to you to make the changes and make sure we don’t go back to how we were.”