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Changing the name of Southwest Portland high school is step toward addressing racism

PMG FILE PHOTO - Students at Wilson High School are seeking to get the name changed in light of racist policies and opinions expressed by President Woodrow Wilson. , Southwest Community Connection - News School district urged to change name of Southwest Portland school, citing former U.S. president's racist policies. Students want Wilson High School renamedThe 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'.

HutchinsonChanging 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


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