Amid the summer’s George Floyd Protests for racial justice, the Washington NFL team finally relented to decades of calls to change its racist name and mascot. On the heels of this news, several Putnam County community leaders began publicly calling for the Putnam County School System to change the mascot of the same name currently used by Algood Middle School, which is a racist slur against Native Americans.
The UUCC Social Justice Committee is supporting this efforts by writing letters to the Putnam County School Board and Herald Citizen newspaper in support of changing the mascot. We encourage anyone who is concerned about this issue to join us in writing letters, raising awareness, and keeping the conversation going.
How to Help
Click here to find out who your School Board representative is and how to contact them. They are identified by School Board District and County Commission District. This information can be found on your Voter Registration card, or using this map. The Algood Middle School is part of the Putnam County School System, so you do not need to live in Algood to have a stake in this issue. A racist mascot effects and reflects on the entire community.
Concerned individuals who do not live in Putnam County may still wish to write to the Director of Schools expressing their concerns, or find out whether there are any similar “Indian” themed school mascots in your county.
Writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper can be an effective way to keep the issue in the public consciousness, show community leaders that people care, and educate members of the community about the issue. The Herald Citizen letter to the editor policy can be found here.
More on the Issue of Racist “Indian” Themed Mascots
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. They have been campaigning to remove “Indian” themed sports mascots since 1968 and have an excellent resource on their website.
“The Fight to Ban Native American Mascots Is Very Local, And Very Slow” by Bob Cook. Forbes, May 22, 2019.
“The Other Redskins” by Kelyn Soong, Capital News Service, April 2, 2013
“Dan Snyder Started a Foundation to Support Native Americans. Has It Abandoned Its Mission?” by Jenny Vrentas and Michael Rosenberg. Sports Illustrated, July 8, 2020.
List of name changes due to the George Floyd protests (Wikipedia)
Below is a timeline of articles and letters to the editor published in the Harald Citizen. The Herald Citizen requires a subscription to view online articles. If you do not already subscribe, please consider supporting the local journalism that allows us to have this kind of public debate in the first place.
- July 20, 2020 article: “Tech prof discusses history of ‘pejorative’ term“
- July 21, 2020 article: “Groups disagree on Algood mascot“
- July 24, 2020 letter to the editor: “Keep Redskins mascot at Algood“
- July 24, 2020 article: “NAACP leaders speak on racial tension“
- July 31, 2020 letter to the editor: “‘Stirrer-uppers’ always offended“
- July 31, 2020 letter to the editor: “Redskins name does not show reverence“
- August 13, 2020 letter to the editor: “Group pushing to keep Algood mascot“
- August 19, 2020 letter to the editor: “Work to stop racism“
- August 19, 2020 letter to the editor: “When you know better, do better“
- August 21, 2020 letter to the editor: “‘Redskin’ nickname a racist term“
- August 26, 2020 letter to the editor: “Find name that honors us all“
- October 23, 2020 letter to the editor: “Algood’s ‘Tomahawk Trot’ offensive“
- November 6, 2020 article: “Algood mascot debate continues“
- November 19, 2020 letter to the editor: “Another vote to change Algood mascot”