Addressing Racist History
Petition to Wentzville School District Board of Education, Teachers, Parents, Activists
Change Holt’s Mascot that is Racist to Native Americans by Cultural Appropriation
Holt High School (apart of the Wentzville School District) has had their school represented through their mascot, a Native American. This is a huge symbol of disrespect towards the Native American tribes that have struggled to keep their culture alive and respected. Holt having their mascot as an Indian (Native American) is a form of cultural appropriation and disrespect. For example, if their was a school with an Asian or Black person as their mascot, it would be quickly shut down. Native Americans deserve the same amount of consideration to their culture just as much as any other race does. Sign this petition so we can slowly help fight against racism. This may not seem like a “big deal” but small actions will start to add up, and we can make our country better than it was yesterday.
Petition to Bellefontaine City School Board
Change the Chieftain mascot of Bellefontaine City Schools
It is time for the Bellefontaine City School Administration to change their Chieftain mascot and end the many forms of cultural appropriation that has stemmed from it. The harm that this mascot, as well as others like it, have on Indigenous communities can be best explained by John Two-Hawks, an activist and member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. He stated “for starters, they insult. More importantly, they cause our children to feel embarrassed and ashamed of who they are. On a larger scale, ‘Indian’ mascots serve to trivialize us as a people”. The use of our Chieftain mascot is aiding in the spread of unrealistic stereotypes that people have created of Indigenous people. It is unjust and hypocritical for a predominantly white community to use this term after our ancestors have stolen Native land, brutally murdered and raped Natives, and forced survivors into schools where they were stripped of their culture, language, and traditions. The Bellefontaine City School district has allowed students to “dress as Indians'' with headdresses, braids, and face paint for sports team photos. The elementary school has also used paper feathers, to be put on a headdress, to recognize the positive behavior of students. How can our community sit back and continue to culturally appropriate Natives, as if they are not people, but caricatures to be used as props and mascots? There is no historical significance for this mascot. After extensive research on the Bellefontaine City Schools website, no history behind the use of the Chieftain mascot can be found. The Chieftain mascot is also not honoring the Indigenous people who once lived in Bellefontaine, Ohio. If this was truly a mark of honor, the whole town of Bellefontaine would know, and be taught, every detail about the history of the Myammia and Hopewell tribes, whose land we now live on. Instead of a mascot, we should honor Natives by teaching our students the true, unaltered history of the tribes that lived in Logan County and why they are no longer found here. The use of this mascot in 2020 shows the failure of the United States and Ohio’s education system on correctly teaching about Indigenous tribes and the racism that has plagued them since Europeans “found” the Americas. How can the very systems that aim to educate the children in our community be responsible for fueling cultural appropriation and racism? Please join us in our fight to change this demeaning mascot to one that better reflects the values that Bellefontaine claims to have. The Chieftain mascot enforces harmful racial stereotypes and hides the brutality that Natives have faced on this very land. Bellefontaine City Schools must recognize the wrongdoings of the past and actively work to change for the better. By signing this petition to remove the Chieftain mascot, you are making it clear that racism has no place in this district. Thank you for your support, Lilli LeVan and Caroline Eader
Petition to Bryan Hughes
Stop Texas representatives from removing minority history from the K-12 curriculum
BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) histories are under attack in Texas. On July 9th, Bryan Hughes, a Republican member of the Texas State Senate, introduced bill 87(1) SB 3 for committee consideration in the state legislature. The bill effectively seeks to erase marginalized histories from "the social studies curriculum for each grade level from kindergarten through grade 12." On July 16, the bill was passed in the Senate. Just take a look at one of the parts of the bill that removes from the curriculum "the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong." Among the other provisions is the removal of "the history of Native Americans" and elimination of "historical documents related to the civic accomplishments of marginalized populations," including those related to "the Chicano movement," "women's suffrage and equal rights," and "the American labor movement" from the curriculum. If Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 3 into law, "Martin Luther King Jr.'s... 'I Have a Dream speech," "the Emancipation Proclamation," "the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth," Amendments to the United States Constitution," and "The United States Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education," would all be eviscerated from classrooms. Names like Frederick Douglass, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Héctor P. García would disappear from curricula. What would remain would be a condensed, whitened version of the history of Texas and the United States that ignores BIPOC struggles and triumphs. How can students be equipped to reckon with the racial realities of today without knowledge of our racist past? As a first-generation Asian-American, I am deeply concerned by Hughes' crusade against diverse narratives within Texan and American history. Racism is an infection. By ignoring it, we only allow it to clench its fist more tightly around our society and systems. Only by having frank conversations and uplifting BIPOC narratives from the very beginning, starting with our K-12 classrooms, can we spark meaningful change. Join me in showing Hughes and the Texas House of Representatives that legislation stifling marginalized stories and voices in our classrooms is regressive and unacceptable. Act now against SB 3 by sharing this petition and taking a stand. Want to take more direct, personal action? Go to the Action Center: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XFY8EnI7Q9QkbEqOunyNQICzNg0a8xnbZywJ5Dez5i8/edit?usp=sharing Full text of the bill: https://capitol.texas.gov/Search/DocViewer.aspx?ID=871SB000031B&QueryText=%22social+studies%22&DocType=B
Petition to UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, Patricia A. Whitely, Jacqueline A. Travisano, Rudy Fernandez, Jacqueline R. Menendez, Maite Alvarez, Adriana Verdeja, Annette M Herrera, Hilarie Bass, Jeffrey Duerk, George Feldenkreis, Edward A. Dauer, Laurie S. Silvers, William L. Morrison, Betty G. Amos, Jose P. Bared, Fred Berens, Charles E. Cobb, Phillip Frost, Phillip T. George , Jorge M. Pérez, Patricia W. Toppel, David R. Weaver, G. Ed Williamson II, Dr. Linda L. Neider, JoNel Newman, Helen Bramlet
Rename University of Miami facilities with a racist history
While the University of Miami has made great strides in becoming more inclusive to everyone, our university still has a long way to go before realizing true equity and inclusion for all people. In light of our nation’s current racial climate, a group of University of Miami students and staff convened to investigate UM’s history on race relations. Over several weeks, our group discovered several troubling findings, specifically regarding our university’s relationship with George E. Merrick. Working with local Miami-based historians, our group investigated Merrick’s past and discovered much evidence confirming that George E. Merrick both held and acted upon racist, segregationist beliefs throughout his life; including in his role as head of the Miami-Dade Planning Board. Below, we have attached a number of articles and sources that support our findings, as well as a letter written by our group to the University of Miami’s President and administration addressing our findings and recommended steps forward. We demand: 1. That the University of Miami swiftly and immediately remove the Merrick name and likeness from all University buildings, structures, streets, and properties. 2. That the University of Miami forms an independent committee— representative of students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and Miami-Dade County residents— to review each University of Miami property and its corresponding name in order to ensure that those figures whose likenesses represent our University continue to represent the ideals and values of our current UM: those that do not should be removed. 3. A written confirmation and acknowledgement from the UM Board of Trustees and administration committing that all facilities named after racists, segregationists, or bigots will be renamed in a reasonable amount of time. Below, you will find our group’s letter and several supporting documents and sources. Thank you for your support! Letter of Request for Building Name Changes: University of Miami The University of Miami (UM) was chartered in 1925. It did not integrate until 1961. (https://scholar.library.miami.edu/umdesegregation/60s.php.html). "George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables and the person who donated the land for UM to be built. In the 1930s, he advocated for all Black families to be pushed out of Miami's city limits and into “negro towns” in West Miami-Dade." (https://www.wlrn.org/post/after-being-called-n-word-student-um-summer-camp-was-asked-apologize-her-reaction#stream/0) Mohl, R. (2001). Whitening Miami: Race, Housing, and Government Policy in Twentieth-Century Dade County. The Florida Historical Quarterly, 79(3), 319-345. Retrieved June 19, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/30150856 “In a speech to the Miami Realty Board in May of 1937 Merrick proposed a ‘complete slum clearance… effectively removing every negro family from the present city limits.’ This black removal, Merrick asserted, was a ‘most essential and fundamental’ for the achievement of Miami’s ambitious planning goals” (Trouble in Paradise: Race and Housing in Miami During the New Deal Era Raymond Mohl, Page 13).
Petition to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees
Repeal the 16 Year Freeze on Renaming Campus Buildings at UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC Building Name Change Petition In 1922, UNC-Chapel Hill dedicated a building to William Saunders, a known White supremacist, member of the Confederate Army, and leader of the North Carolina KKK. In 2015, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees was pressured by student activists to change the building’s name to Hurston Hall. Instead, the Board chose the nondescript name, “Carolina Hall.” At the very same meeting where the Board of Trustees renamed “Saunders Hall,” the board put in place a 16-year moratorium, or ban, on the renaming of other campus buildings, monuments, and landscapes. This ban is supposed to stand until 2031. There are 40+ buildings, monuments, and landscapes on UNC’s campus dedicated to individuals who either owned and profited off of enslaved people or actively advocated for white supremacy at UNC. Many of these buildings were not dedicated at the end of the Civil War, but rather decades later to make Black and Brown people feel unwelcome on campus; to terrorize them. Many of these dedications occurred in the 1920s and 1960s, two periods in US history that witnessed an intense rise in white supremacy: Jim Crow and the New Right, respectively. The building names had and have a purpose on our campus. They enact, enforce, and honor white supremacy. This is precisely why the Board of Trustees forced a re-naming moratorium after the Real Silent Sam Coalition’s important victory in renaming Saunders Hall at UNC. The names of our buildings, like any statue on our campus, should represent who we are and who we want to be. This petition demands that the University change the names of buildings dedicated to white supremacists. This can be the beginning of the university choosing to protect its students, faculty, employees, and all North Carolinians before honoring a history rooted in racist hate. The UNC Board of Trustees ultimately must approve any changes to building names. Membership on the Board of Trustees has changed since the 2015 decision to place the moratorium. Two-thirds of the current trustees were not involved in the decision to enact a freeze on naming of campus landmarks. We, the people of UNC-Chapel Hill, have a list of demands that will make UNC-Chapel Hill a more safe and equitable environment for everyone who enters UNC virtually or in person. 1. We demand that the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees remove the 16-year moratorium on renaming campus buildings, monuments, and landscapes. 2. We demand that the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees add a plaque to Kenan Football Stadium that properly contextualizes that the Kenan family fortune was amassed through plantation-based slavery. 3. We demand that the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees rename Alderman Residence Hall, Avery Residence Hall, Aycock Residence Hall, Battle Hall, Bingham Hall, Bynum Hall, Caldwell Hall, Carr Building, Daniels Student Stores, Craige Residence Hall, Davie Hall, Gerrard Hall, Graham Residence Hall, Hamilton Hall, Hinton James Residence Hall, Joyner Residence Hall, Kenan Stadium, Lenoir Hall, Lewis Residence Hall, Mangum Residence Hall, Manly Residence Hall, Manning Hall, McIver Residence Hall, Mitchell Hall, Morrison Residence Hall, Murphey Hall, Parker Residence Hall, Person Hall, Pettigrew Hall, Phillips Hall, Phillips Annex, Polk Place, Ruffin Residence Hall, Spencer Residence Hall, Steele Hall, Swain Hall, Vance Hall, Venable Hall, Winston Residence Hall, and rededicate any other similarly associated campus landmarks including Playmakers Theatre and the Jefferson Davis highway sign off of Franklin Street, as all are named in remembrance of individuals who had direct ties to slavery and white supremacy. We offer a few names to begin to replace these hateful dedications. The following UNC students, staff, and faculty are truly to be admired and we would be proud to have their names on our public university’s buildings: Mary Smith and Elizabeth Brooks, Howard Lee, Karen Parker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Perry Hall.
Petition to Williamson County Commission, Tennessee Historical Commission
Remove Confederate Branding from Williamson County Seal
Public displays of the Confederate battle flag have long been controversial, and the Williamson County (TN) seal has featured this flag in the top left corner since 1968, coincidentally the same year as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and shortly after the integration of the schools in Williamson County. The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, along with the subsequent vigils, rallies, and marches in Williamson County, all 50 states, and dozens of countries, have forced many of us to have difficult conversations about racism. As residents and leaders in Williamson County process and respond to racial injustice in our community, now is the time for our county to do something to show a commitment to diversity, unity, equity, and justice. Businesses, churches, and community organizations redesign their logos to show a renewed vision, mission, or purpose. Williamson County should take the opportunity right now to replace this seal with an new design.
Petition to Robert Clark
Removal of General Custer Statue in Monroe, MI
I am requesting the removal of the General Custer statue that is centered in downtown Monroe, MI. This statue represents a man who was glorified by using mass genocide of Native Americans. It does not represent what our town stands for in 2020. By taking this statue down it will give the community a sense of change and hope for the future of future members of monroe. We want our kids to grow up safe, happy, healthy, and unafraid to die.
Petition to Putnam County, Tennessee School board, Director of schools, Parents, Alumni, PTO
Change the Algood Middle School mascot
Algood Middle School’s mascot, the R**s**s, is a Native American caricature that has been controversial for decades. In fact, it is the most demeaning representation of the indigenous Native American identity. The word “R**s**” has never had a positive connotation. The use of the word has been condemned by the National Congress of American Indians, to which virtually all tribes belong. The R-word is the moral equivalent of the N-word. It packs the same level of bigotry and insensitivity for Native Americans as any other racial slur. Additionally, it refers to the horrifying practice of skinning Native People. Since the 1990s, the movement to remove racially derogatory mascots and team names has gained momentum. Many college athletic departments moved away from Native American names. In 2015, California passed a law prohibiting high schools from using R**s**s as a team name. The decree had a downstream effect: Many schools that used other names with connections to Native Americans switched, too. At the end of 2017, 49 schools used that nickname, down from 93 schools in 1989. On 7/13/2020, the Washington R**s** announced that the team would drop its name and adopt a new one. On July 23, 2021, the Cleveland Indians followed suit. Local school mascots have been changed in the past, and for less offensive reasons. For example, the Northeast Trojans are now the Eagles, allegedly because a (white) father did not want his son’s school to be associated with a condom brand. (!) Parkview’s Rockets are now the Pandas. Sycamore used to be the Scorpions and now they are the Stars. Prescott, when it was the building close to Tennessee Tech University, was initially Prescott Middle School, abbreviated to P.M.S., thus the addition of Central, making it P.C.M.S; now we know the school as Prescott South. Most recently, the school board swiftly decided on a name for a new school and its mascot. The New school being built will have the name Parkview School with the Mascot reverting back to its prior mascot the Rockets. If a mascot name can be changed so easily for one, why is it so much harder to change racist mascots? In an effort to put an end to stereotyping and racism, we ask that Algood Middle School remove “R**s**” as the school’s mascot and all associated images. Algood Elementary School’s mascot - the Braves - is also perceived as disrespectful by the Native Indian community. Therefore, it should be changed as well. We ask the school board, the principals, and the PTO to consider these name changes and lead by example in our community.