Addressing Our Racist History

211 petitions

Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Williamson County Commissioners, Williamson County Judge

Remove the Confederate Monument from the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas”

June 7, 2020 Dear Williamson County Commissioners, I respectfully request a removal of the Confederate Civil War monument from the Williamson County Courthouse grounds located in the "Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas". Like the signs for ‘white’ or ‘colored’ restrooms or drinking fountains, the monument erected during the Jim Crow era of racism against African Americans, is considered to be intimidating and disrespectful to the Black community. For this reason alone, the monument simply must be removed if the town square truly is a place where everyone is equally welcome. In the same way the UT Austin students cried out to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for help with their integration efforts in the 60's, the peaceful protesters, mothers, fathers, children, brothers and sisters all over the world are crying out for justice to people like you today. I do believe in honoring the veterans as the United Daughters of the Confederacy did by erecting the monument in 1916. I am a granddaughter of a wounded veteran, and my uncle was killed in the WWII at age 19 in Hiroshima, Japan, not too far from where those twelve American POWs died. I was taught to honor all people even when the nations fight against nations. I was taught to learn from history and work toward world peace. The monument can be moved to a new location where ALL Civil War veterans are honored and the visitors can learn from the history. We must not forget that Emancipation Proclamation was not delivered to Texas until almost two and half years after President Lincoln signed it. We must not forget that many Confederate Soldier statues were erected to intimidate African Americans that continued to suffer brutality after they were set free and they still do today. We must not forget that Dr. King visited the UT campus to fight for justice alongside the students because many businesses were refusing to end segregation. We must not forget that Texans were taught that slavery was a side issue of the Civil War until 2019-2020 school year. And most of all, we must not forget that injustice is done to black people still today, every day, even in our community. I hope that the history of the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas” will soon include the removal of the Confederate monument. I hope that the great people of the Williamson County believe it is never too late to do the right thing even though it has been over 150 years since President Lincoln issued the proclamation declaring “…all persons…shall be free.” Kindest regards, Ayaka Kubo

Ayaka Kubo
2,243 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Michael Mongon, Anthony DiCarlo, Adam Savino, Ben Dilullo, David Furaro, Lawrence Keane, Lucy Massafra, Tanner McCracken, Ray McDonough, Michael Simone

Retiring Mahopac's 'Indian' Mascot

Since its founding over 80 years ago, Mahopac Central School District has perpetuated inequity and capitalized on colonialism. Despite our district claiming “it’s…important to us that students’ social, emotional, and overall wellbeing is supported,” our community continues to ignore bigotry as an issue. Have we forgotten the headlines denoting four instances of racism related to Mahopac student conduct—once in 2012, twice in 2014, and again in April of this year? Turning a blind eye to toxic ideology will only exacerbate the problem for current and future generations living in our community. In a comprehensive research report by Brown University’s Dr. Michael A. Friedman, “Indian” sports mascots were shown to harmfully “perpetuate negative stereotypes of America’s first peoples and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples.” Furthermore, “hundreds of tribal nations, national and regional tribal organizations, civil rights organizations, school boards, sports teams, sports and media personalities, and individuals have called for the end to harmful Indian mascots.” Currently, Native Americans are still being oppressed and marginalized in society. They face the continual loss of territory due to oil industry buyouts, voter repression via unjust legislation, and high levels of violence, especially toward Native women (which is often disregarded by local authorities) among many other injustices. Mahopac’s “Indian” mascot is a reminder of these acts of divisiveness and marginalization, which further emphasizes our community’s inability to eliminate racism. We need to unite together to end the racial discrimination scarring our community by removing a symbol that has held us back from healing for far too long. Therefore, I propose that instead of complacency, we implement a united systemic transformation of belief. My action plan involves three steps: Community engagement, educational forum development, and rebranding. Step 1 involves you. I am calling upon individuals to sign this petition to inform the School Board of the Mahopac Central School District and Anthony DiCarlo, the superintendent of the Mahopac Central School District, of our concerns and propose the solutions addressed in Steps 2 and 3. Step 2 involves the community. Together we can develop an open forum for our municipality to safely and appropriately discuss taboo topics (i.e., race, gender, ethnicity). Let us better ourselves through conversation and education. Lastly, Step 3 involves Adidas. In 2015, Adidas launched the “Mascot Change” initiative, which is a voluntary program for high schools that “would give schools access to the company’s design team for logo redesign and uniform design across all sports.” This is a grant-funded initiative that requires a simple proposal from a school district to instigate change at little monetary and temporal cost. It is not my intention to eliminate Native American culture from Mahopac entirely. The biggest issue in our mascot, besides its racist connotation, is that there is no public education regarding the ancestors of our land. Together, we can celebrate and learn about the Wappinger tribe that lived on this territory, and how Mahopac as we know it came to be. There is irony surrounding our pride for the “Mahopac Indians” without knowing anything about the tribe’s history. All three steps can engage the community toward fostering a more inclusive neighborhood. In our current cultural climate, many people will feel that this initiative is too “politically correct” and that they are not responsible for what happened to Native Americans. No, we may not be independently responsible for the genocide and injustices that Native American communities have faced throughout history; however, we are responsible for the cultural appropriation that Mahopac has undertaken in using the “Indian” as our mascot. There is precedent from nearby districts taking action to address similar appropriation. In 2002, Ossining High School changed its “Indian” mascot after the state education commissioner “requested that districts stop using American Indian symbols as mascots”. Most recently, in November 2019, Superintendent Andrew Selesnick voted with the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board to retire their 'Indian' mascot stating: "In 2019, maintaining the mascot is at odds with our educational mission...If we are to teach our students the importance of truly listening when someone or some group tells us that our behavior or our words are harmful or unwelcome, then we as a district should serve as a model.” By separating ourselves from a symbol of imperialist oppression, we can begin the process of redeveloping our values as a community. I am proud and privileged to have grown up in Mahopac, but without a plan to curb the harmful rhetoric that has been tolerated for far too long, our district will be known for our tolerance for racism, rather than the wealth of knowledge and abundant resources in our area. ~Sincerely, Daniel Ehrenpreis, 2012 graduate of Mahopac High School

Daniel Ehrenpreis
6,668 supporters
This petition won 1 month ago

Petition to Portsmouth Public School's School Board

Abolish the use of Woodrow Wilson's name and return it to Manor High School

In 1972, Manor High School opened its doors to several diverse communities in Portsmouth, Va. It was named for two ethnic neighborhoods: The mostly black Cavalier Manor, and the predominantly white community known as Hodges Manor. At the time, this combination reflected the most diverse public learning environment in Portsmouth. Students, faculty, and student government at Manor were allowed to develop and implement creative traditions associated with student life and academics, producing an array of citizens who have excelled in business, the military, education, sports, and entertainment. In 1993, the Portsmouth School Board consolidated two of its high schools, effectively erasing the legacy and proud tradition of Manor High. Against the wishes of many, and without fair representation of Manor alum, the School Board voted to change the name of Manor High School to Woodrow Wilson High. Recently in America, the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others has sparked outrage and ignited a campaign for social change that is inspiring Americans to re-evaluate systemic racism, as reflected in Confederate monuments to traitorous Civil War soldiers and displayed by institutions named in honor of prominent Americans who were avowed racists. Here in Portsmouth, we believe the school board should restore the name of Manor High School, as Woodrow Wilson was a demonstrated bigot. His name should not grace any building that educates African Americans - or any other group of children. Consider the record: As president of Princeton University, Wilson refused to allow African Americans to enroll in the college. In his first 10 months after being elected president of the United States, he fired 15 of 17 black government supervisors and replaced them with whites, insisting that black men had no business leading white women in America. Moreover, Wilson helped promote the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 by hosting a viewing of the profoundly racist film, “Birth of a Nation,” on the white house lawn. As well, he helped preserved Jim Crow segregation laws in Washington D.C. Wilson’s record on international affairs was no better. During the historical formation of the League of Nations, when Japanese representatives requested that support for racial equality be included a part of the foundational concept of the League, Wilson flat out refused to entertain the idea (Vox The Atlantic). If we are genuinely to be inclusive to all students in Portsmouth, then the name of Woodrow Wilson should not be associated with a school designed to educate our children. Officials at Princeton have already led the way to change, announcing plans to remove Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges (CNN). We believe the Portsmouth School Board should follow suit and send the message that Wilson’s racist values and philosophies do not align with the principles of our city’s schools. Therefore, we ask the school board to right two wrongs: Remove the name of Woodrow Wilson High School and restore the name of Manor High to its rightful place.

Brendon Allen
4,725 supporters