Addressing Racist History
Petition to Seminole High School Students
Change Seminole High School’s Mascot
For years, Seminole High School students and staff have been sporting Native American headdresses at football games and other school events. The mascot of this Sanford, Florida high school is a Seminole man. Being a former student at Seminole High School, I have experienced this firsthand. I have not once learned about the Seminole tribe during my 4 years at Seminole High School, yet almost every building is given a name like “Tomahawk” or “Tribe Hall” and a headdress made of cheap plastic feathers and face paint is commonplace. The use of the Native American people as mascots is harmful, and is seen as disrespectful by actual Natives. According to the National Congress of American Indians, which is “one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organizations,” they have “held a clear position against derogatory and harmful stereotypes of Native people—including sports mascots—in media and popular culture.” To the staff at Seminole High School, you can not disregard the disrespect and concern Native people feel over these caricatures. Using a group of people as a mascot is inherently problematic; no other race of people would be seen as an acceptable mascot, as it is incredibly disrespectful. These caricatures are not “honoring” Natives, they are “perpetuatingnegative stereotypes” and “contributing to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples.” (NCAI) It is ironic that a school that prides itself on its diverse student population is represented by a mascot that is exemplary of cultural appropriation. While you cannot erase your past, please consider, going forward, utilizing a representative that is progressive, inclusive, and respectful of all.
Petition to Kay Ivey
Rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Rep John Lewis
“It’s far past time to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon that nearly gave his life on that bridge,” said Michael Starr Hopkins. “Edmund Pettus was a bitter racist, undeserving of the honor bestowed upon him. As we wipe away this country's long stain of bigotry, we must also wipe away the names of men like Edmund Pettus.” The Edmund Pettus Bridge, now a National Historic Landmark, was the site of the brutal Bloody Sunday beatings of civil rights marchers during the first march for voting rights. The televised attacks were seen all over the nation, prompting public support for the civil rights activists in Selma and for the voting rights campaign. After Bloody Sunday, protestors were granted the right to continue marching, and two more marches for voting rights followed.
Petition to Jason d'Autremont, Elizabeth Wilson, Linda Storli
Retire Hart High's 'Indian' Mascot
Follow for updates and education! Instagram: RetireHartMascot Twitter: RetireHHSMascot Facebook Group: Retire Hart’s Mascot Website: https://retirehartmascot.carrd.co/ Hart High School's 'Indian' mascot was decided upon back in 1946, when the offensive and detrimental nature of Native American imagery in sports was not yet understood. 20 years later, in 1968, the NCAI (Nation Congress of American Indians) began their ongoing campaign to end the era of harmful 'Indian' mascots. In their words, "rather than honoring Native peoples, these caricatures and stereotypes are harmful, perpetuate negative stereotypes of America’s first peoples, and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples." Though the Indian on the logo was supposed to be removed in the 90s,these caricatures of Native Americans still remain displayed in yearbooks and on athletic posters. The retiring of the 'Indian' mascot is long overdue and as we turn in to a new decade, I urge Hart High School to change their mascot. If your first instinct is to trivialize this issue as needless political correctness, then please keep reading. Our country's treatment of indigenous people, subjecting them to different kinds of violence, destroying their culture, and forcing them off their land has led to current day problems like mass impoverishment, lowered access to education, and inadequate healthcare. The use of offensive stereotypical images of Native Americans for school mascots only perpetuates these issues. A research report by Dr. Friedman details the negative effects mascots have on the mood and self-esteem of Native American youth and on non-Native Americans' views of Native Americans specifying that "these effects occur regardless of whether the Native American mascot is considered 'offensive'." Right now, the changing of Hart High's mascot is supported by the Indigenous People's Movement and Lalo Alcaraz. Email the our high school's principal email@example.com & district governing board members at firstname.lastname@example.org (superintendent), email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know how you feel! Let's keep it classy, and change the mascot. **donations made through change.org go towards promoting this petition, we are not asking for donations at this time**
Petition to Dr. Jeff Marsden (Medfield Public School Superintendent), Medfield Public School Committee
The Time is Now, Let's Change the Medfield Mascot Petition for Medfield Alumni
There is no doubt that Medfield is a great town. With countless athletic championship trophies, a thriving arts program, and stellar academic records, Medfield is a place people feel proud to live in. Yet, that pride is not shown in the mascot. Many residents feel ashamed to wear the mascot on their clothes and jerseys. For those not familiar with the mascot, it is a symbol of a Native American in a traditional Native American headdress. A school’s mascot is supposed to represent the community. According to the most recent US Census, Medfield is 92% white with a 0% Native American population. Using a Native American person as a mascot for a predominantly white school is cultural appropriation. It is easy to say that the mascot represents power. I agree that it does. But a Native American symbol should not represent power for a predominately white school! The King Philip's War (which partially took place in Medfield) was one of the most deadly battles between the European Colonists and Native Americans. It was driven by the white people's want for more land and the murder of three innocent Wampanoag men. Many Medfield Public School students, alumni, and residents do not know about this history. Due to this lack of education, the Medfield mascot is assumed to represent Medfield’s history. Using that logic, the current mascot represents Medfield’s history or stealing Native American land and European Colonists murdering innocent people. That should not be the case. The mascot needs to change. Problematic mascots are not a problem specific to Medfield. There are current bills going through the Massachusetts State House, H.443 and S.247, fighting to prohibit the use of Native American mascots throughout the state. Yet, due to COVID-19, this bill is not moving very fast. So, it is important that we take local action to change the mascot as soon as possible. The town of Millis is currently working on changing its mascot which also culturally appropriates Native American culture. By signing this petition, you are showing to the Medfield School Committee and Superintendent Dr. Marsden that changing the Medfield Public School’s mascot is necessary! Please share this petition with all Medfield Public School alumni. There needs to be change now! Thank you.
Petition to Judge Paul Pape, Mel Hamner, Clara Beckett, Mark Meuth, Donna Snowden
Remove the Confederate Monuments from Bastrop County Property
Let’s demand the removal of the Confederate Monuments standing on the grounds of the Bastrop County Courthouse, in Bastrop Texas. The monuments are engraved with two crossed confederate flags on one side and the words of a Confederate war song “Lest we Forget” on the other. They were established by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1910 to honor Confederate soldiers from Bastrop County who fought in the war against civil rights. These monuments were set on the lawn to memorialize the history of the confederacy. As it was stated, to cherish the heritage of southern blood and southern chivalry. The United Daughters of the Confederate supported white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and the altering of textbooks to change the narrative around slavery. Confederate monuments were built and given places of honor in public spaces. These symbols of white supremacy have always been memorials to the cause of slavery and the denial of humanity to Black people. Now they are being weaponized to rally white supremacists. We have the power to diffuse these modern-day lynch mobs by removing these statues altogether, instead of giving white supremacists a rally point. The intent of this petition is to request that Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape and the commissioners of the court: Mel Hamner, Clara Beckett, Mark Meuth, and Donna Snowden, immediately remove all Confederate monuments from all County properties in Bastrop County; including but not limited to, the two confederate monuments currently located on the Bastrop County Courthouse grounds. These monuments are a representation of the pain, affliction and oppression inflicted upon Black Americans. We are at a time in history where we should be promoting equity for all, and denouncing all forms of racism that poison our communities. Removing all Confederate monuments would be one step among many in sending the message that we are no longer honoring white supremacy at a societal level. Join with me today and pledge to support the removal of all Confederate monuments and symbols from the greater Bastrop County communities. HELP US TAKE THEM DOWN!
Petition to Roy Cooper
Removal of the Confederate Statue from Rutherford County Court grounds
It is an unprecedented time in America where we are revisiting our past in the hopes of making an impactful change for the future. Statues honoring the confederacy and glorifying slavery have been coming down all across the nation. State, City, and Public grounds are no place to honor a time in history that is hurtful for so many Americans. In order to progress as a country, we have to say goodbye to this painful relic of the past. Removing this statue from my deep red western North Carolinian hometown will be very symbolic. No black child should have to look to a courthouse that is meant to serve all only to see a reminder of a time when America thought he was not worthy of justice or equality. This confederate statue has no home there and it’s time for it to come down.
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
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 email@example.com