For the second year in a row, members of the Chi Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) took 1st place for their entry into the Honors in Action Project at the society’s 2018 Northeast Regional Conference.
For this year’s entry into the Honors in Action Project, Chi Rho submitted “Myth v.s. Reality”
Which examines the Thirteenth Amendment, and whether it truly abolished slavery. The group also studied prevailing racial biases in society, and whether they are born from continuing myths. Michael Biggs, President of the Chi Rho chapter, along with former President Andrew Jones compiled census data, interviews and research to reach their conclusion.
“A lot of myths are passed down from generation to generation.” Biggs said. “When you have racist policies such as Jim Crow laws, redlining housing districts and the media’s portrayal of blacks and poor people, it allows the myth to continue.”
Using Bridgeport as a sample, the chapter looked at racial lines within the city comparing income rates among the east and west ends of town. What the group found was a stark contrast between wealth in the east section of Bridgeport relative to its reputation of being largely a community of color.
“Main street pretty much acts as a divider between the good and bad parts of the city.” Biggs said. “The media and the government circulate the myth that a certain class of people are criminals and abusers of our public assistance program.”
Chi Rho points to their study of the “Welfare Queen” myth, both researching how the term has been used historically, and polling students, faculty and citizens to their own history with the subject matter. Altogether, both Biggs and Jones along with volunteering members of Chi Rho polled over 200 individuals.
“What we found is that myths can be more powerful than truth.” Biggs said. “Learning from the past and encouraging a willingness to change can make a better future for everyone.”
Chi Rho also won second runner up in the “Distinguished Officer Team” (Andrew Jones, Michael Biggs) and received the “Five Star Chapter Award” at the conference.