Reject Crosstown, Name New School "Cumyow Elementary"

A new school at International Village in the Downtown Eastside was nearing completion, and it needed a name. A report with a list of suggestions was presented to the one-person Vancouver School Board with the name "Crosstown" at the top for her consideration.

This is interesting, seeing as most Vancouver schools are named after notable Canadians and British monarchs (some of which are a little troubling now, but I digress). The last new elementary school, built on the edge of Pacific Spirit Park on the UBC campus, was named for Musqueam elder and education advocate Norma Rose Point, a namesake fitting for a school on unceded territory.

There were notable names on the list for the new school, too. Won Alexander Cumyow was the first known person of Chinese descent to be born in Canada. FIRST IN CANADA. He was also one of the first to vote, until rights for Chinese voters were revoked again. He was a loyal public servant and activist for his neighbourhood. Naming this school after him would have honoured the history of Chinatown and the Chinese people who have been a part of Vancouver's history since the very beginning. Read more about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Won_Alexander_Cumyow

On Dec. 14, the one-person Vancouver School Board voted unanimously to name the school Crosstown Elementary. This is an active erasure of the history and culture of Chinatown, a re-branding that acts to gentrify one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods. "Crosstown" is not an official Vancouver neighbourhood; it's a shiny new name to make Chinatown seem less like Chinatown. By embracing Won Alexander Cumyow as the school's namesake, neighbourhood and community connection to the school would be strengthened, Chinese students, parents and citizens would be represented, and the VSB would officially recognize in a meaningful way that Chinese-Canadians are an ingrained and integral piece of our city's history...and future.

We call on the Vancouver School Board and the sole trustee Dianne Turner to reject the name Crosstown in favour of Cumyow Elementary.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Vancouver School Board
    Dianne Turner, Trustee


    Lindsay Bayne started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,061 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.