MYSTIC VALLEY AREA BRANCH NAACP & NETWORK FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
July 13, 2020
Winchester, MA (July 13, 2020) – Calls for the changing of the Winchester High School and the Arlington High School Mascots.
As we continue through this tumultuous year, in which we have seen the death of various Black citizens at the hands of police officers and vigilantes, we have also witnessed the call to purge symbols that have allowed racism to permeate throughout our society for hundreds of years. We have seen NASCAR and the state of Mississippi do away with the Confederate Flag, we have seen statues of Christopher Columbus topple down, and symbols depicting African Americans in a negative light removed. Institutional racism in America is not exclusive to African Americans. A major example happened just this past week as we saw the prominent sponsors of the Washington R*dsk*ns calling for the name of the historic professional football team to be changed. This change is long overdue.
Native American symbols and mascots like the R*dsk*ns are unacceptable anywhere. The Mystic Valley Area Branch of the NAACP with the Network for Social Justice stand as an ally with Native American voices in calling for the change of the Winchester High School Sachem mascot and the Arlington High School Spy Ponder mascot. It is likely that the Washington R*dsk*ns are going to make the decision to change. We believe that the Winchester Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools should get ahead of the pending state level legislation on mascots and the state flag and seal and make the decision to change their mascot.
The year 2020, which coincides with the 400th anniversary of the arrivals of colonists to the Americas, is the year where we must maximize anti-racism work to usher us into a better tomorrow. Along with the purge of Confederate symbols, the NAACP and Network for Social Justice believe that it is time to end the mockery and stereotyping of Indigenous peoples through the use of mascots. In the same year where we have seen institutions remove the Confederate flag, now is the time to do right for Indigenous peoples as we also push the #BlackLiveMatters movement forward, as well as battle the unequal effects of COVID-19 due to institutionalized racism. The New England Area Conference of the NAACP (NEAC), which represents all NAACP branches within the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, has already endorsed the passing of the entire MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda, including bill S.247, H. 443 to prohibit the use of Native American Mascots in Public Schools in the Commonwealth and bill S.1877/H.2776 to redesign the seal and flag for Massachusetts. We ask that you join us and the Network in supporting this legislation.
Contact your local legislators: https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator
Please go to this link: https://secure.everyaction.com/a7m-qciMMUyYlIL2jxcTVA2, where you can fill in your address and send an automated letter in support of all 3 bills to your state representative and state senators as well as other key legislators.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. Established in 1977, The Mystic Valley Area Branch's roots lie in the work of civic leaders from the West Medford community.
Established in 1991, the Winchester Multicultural Network was renamed the Network for Social Justice in 2019. The Network mission is to foster a movement for systemic change to advance equity and inclusion in the town of Winchester and beyond it using a strategy of community education, engagement and activation.