Topic

Addressing Racist History

629 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

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.   

Rashaad Galloway
13,211 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

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.

Julia Gruber
4,258 supporters