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Redmen/Redettes should go

To the Journal editor:

I am an Marquette Senior High School alumni from the class of 2015, and I am writing to show my support for changing the MSHS nickname.

I remember getting ready for swim meets, wearing my parka reading “r*dmen” and leading the team cheers yelling our nickname with excitement. At the time, I was unaware of the harm such language and actions hold.

Today, I reflect upon these times with nostalgia and remorse. I loved my team and loved being a part of MSHS sports and will always carry fond memories of these times.

Yet, I am saddened to now understand these words perpetuated the discrimination against indigenous peoples and an unhealthy educational environment for all students. At the same time, I am grateful to be learning and improving from those who have taught and guided us around this issue and those who are bravely advocating for this change. In calling for a new nickname, they are calling for positive changes within ourselves and the overall community. This is a time for us all to listen, learn and change.

The use of the nickname “r*dmen” was imposed upon the Native American culture without their consent. In claiming this title, we strip indigenous people of their culture and their identities and cause unintended harm to all MSHS students. It has been proven that this type of derogatory language harms students and fosters an environment, which hinders education for both native and non-native people.

Even more important than the statistics, this is about listening to the voices of indigenous peoples and the students and community members supporting them. We are calling to end harm and discrimination and instead inspire a community based on mutual love and respect.

As the board of education’s mission is “to maximize the academic potential of every child” and vision is to promote “students who are…prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,” I hope we can set an example of how to rise to such a challenge and truly support all students by changing the nickname.

This is a challenge, but moreover, this is an opportunity — an opportunity for the board to lead MSHS to “maximize the academic potential of every child” and to create positive change for the entire Marquette and Upper Peninsula community. I look forward to seeing a truly peaceful, inclusive, and just MSHS and community.

In solidarity,

LOGAN VEAR

Marquette

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