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 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 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 School board and administrators
CHANGE RIDLEY’S MASCOT!
For years, Ridley School District’s mascot has been The Raider, a title accompanied by an image of a Native American. This image is a caricature of indigenous people, and pairing it with the term Raider, which means thief, perpetuates negative stigma. It is time that Ridley School District changes their mascot image and title to something that is not racist. With the help of your signature, we can show the school board and administrators of the district that we as students will not be silent to this racism any longer.
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 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.