Two Schools Commemorating Washington, Jefferson to Be Renamed in Honor of BLM
School caves to pressure from Black Lives Matter
Two Californian public schools are set to remove their names commemorating Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson following pressures from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last week, The Berkeley Unified School District voted and approved a “Resolution in Support of Black Lives Matter," amid weeks of mass protests and riots following the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody.
The two schools are named after Presidents who owned slaves.
The school board said in a statement:
"Noting that Black Lives Matter protests have swept the nation as demonstrators demand justice in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and far too many other Black Americans to list, the Resolution In Support of Black Lives Matter includes the following action steps: Initiate a School Renaming Process for Jefferson and Washington Elementary Schools in accordance with the District’s policies."
The school district also announced it would launch a “Black Joy Campaign,” a year-round initiative aimed at training teachers of racial equality, according to SF Gate.
"This is the first, but not the last, of our work around ensuring that we move from the thought of equity to excellence," school board member Ka’Dijah Brown said.
In 2005, community members tried to remove Jefferson’s name from the elementary school but failed to get enough votes.
But following the BLM movement protests, the proposed changes were successful.
The news comes a week after Black Lives Matter rioters tore down the historic Christopher Columbus statue in Minneapolis.
The Columbus statue was sculpted by an Italian immigrant and was presented as a gift from Minnesota’s Italian-Americans.
Additionally, people in high-profile industries have faced resignations and firings over comments or actions regarding race.
A black principal of one of the most selective high schools in Chicago is facing a push from “disappointed alumni” to resign amid protests.
Joyce Kenner, who had worked for Jesse Jackson’s civil rights and political initiative, faced a petition calling for her resignation for allegedly silencing students speaking out against injustice.
“If you are not going to speak out for your students, if you are not going to do what is best for YOUR students, please resign. Whitney Young students deserve a principal who loves and cares about their wellbeing in a world that hates them,” the petition reads.
But Kenner has denied the accusations.
“You could go by your experience, and the only thing I've ever tried to do is get our black kids educated, so they have the opportunity to be part of this world,” Kenner said.
“Nobody is going to push me out. I’m not resigning. I still have a lot of work to do for my African American students.”