Wilson High School needs a new identity
The pandemic of racism in America reached a new level of crisis with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. As a high school junior at what by year's end will formally be known as Woodrow Wilson High, I have been a voice advocating for students of color like myself. Since my freshman year I have spoken out about holding staff and students accountable for micro-aggressions, bias and xenophobia. I have requested action due to the increase in hate speech, symbols and swastikas at school, and for the removal of a large mural depicting the "Wilson era". Speaking out during a Portland Public School Board meeting in June about the harm Woodrow Wilson perpetrated against so many marginalized groups in America, led to a meeting with the principal and an initial 'name change committee'.
Changing the school name is an acknowledgement that no building should be named for anyone who promotes racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic sentiments and/or any other hate.
We have begun the formal name change process in adherence with the PPS protocol established in 2018. The process lays out specifics for a formal elected name change committee. It is my hope that the process will be completed in a non-bias manner that can be replicated by other schools. Students and adults submitted applications to participate in the official committee that will create a structure to gather input from the entire community. Although school will be virtual this fall, knowing that the mural has been removed and that this year we will have a new school name, is a small step in the right direction.
Hui Hui Hutchinson is a student at Wilson High School in Southwest Portland
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.