Change the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, VA
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I learned in an ironic school for four years. A school that was immensely diverse with students and faculty representing countries all over the world, but is dawned with the name of a confederate general. I went to Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, VA. The name does not represent what I learned during my time there, and it will never represent the student body and faculty that go there every day. I learned to appreciate people that are different from me, to learn and explore things that are new, to learn how to stand up for what is right, and to never question the humanity of other people. My classmates and I would joke about the name during our first years there, but now, this is no longer a joke, but it is real life. With the recent violent protests from racist and bigoted groups in Charlottesville, especially it being so close to home as well as the home of many alumni from Lee High School, I know this is real life.
I have felt disgusted and ashamed to say that I went to a school named Robert E. Lee High School. I even avoid saying the full name because this is not normal, this is not okay, and it will never be. The name is disrespectful to the community the school is located in, the students who go there, and the staff that teaches and work there. It is shameful that this name is still accepted, and something must be done. For those who might call this “worthless” or “pointless”, you have not yet received a dose of the reality of what most American’s face. Every day is a battle of survival, there will never be a day where we do not fear for our lives, for our families and loved ones. If you are too blinded by your privilege and ignorance to not find this important or “worthy”, please educate yourself on how this country was founded on the backs of African slaves and further built on racism, bigotry, and overall, hate.
I am requesting that the Fairfax County School Board consider changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School as they have done so with J.E.B. Stuart High School. This name should have never been accepted in the first place, and us, the community, as well as the rest of the nation, will hold them accountable to do what is right. We are no longer in the times of being silent, but the times where we must accept the dangers of racism and hate, and fight against it, even if it starts with one name change, or a statue, it has to start somewhere.
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