Updated: March 26, 2015


Gary Norris Gray-BASN Staff Reporter

lancaster high school

OAKLAND,CA-BASN-This past week the Lancaster School Board of New York struck a blow for Native Americans. This decision to abandon the Redskin name and logo came with a storm of protest from Lancaster High School students, parents, and residents. The local police had to assist the board at the meeting because hundreds of residents came to the meeting to voice their opposition. The small high school conference room could only accommodate 45 to 50 individuals due to fire code regulations. Many more wanted to hear this heated conversation to remove the R-Word from the Lancaster High School sports program.

The growing tide of resistance to the “Redskins” name went into the hills of Northern New York with another school leaving this awful name behind.

The School Board voted unanimously against the team name and logo. A new name will be instituted at the beginning of the school year 2015-2016. The logo was implemented immediately.

As the board met to discuss other issues such as the budget, the crowds of people removed from the meeting gathered in the hallways and in the front of the school building and chanted, “Let’s go Redskins, let’s go.”

Racism in America is dying a very slow ugly death and the Washington Football Club and its owner Dan Snyder are not helping. Members of this school board received threats if they changed or removed the name and logo.

For the past several years, it had been ordering school uniforms without the mascot’s name. Its new football scoreboard has no reference to it. And, according to the Buffalo News, last fall was the first time the mascot didn’t appear at a sporting event.

protest photo change the name-change the mascot

My, my, my, have we progressed in the United States of America when it comes to racial issues when there is a person of darker hue currently sitting in the seat of the presidency of the United States.

“We realize that traditions are sometimes hard to leave behind, but we do need to rethink traditions when they have become hurtful and perceived as disrespectful of others, even unintentionally,” said Superintendent Michael J. Vallely . It’s a message that sets an example we hope others will follow.

Then you have individuals that just don’t get it and never will as they try to use the Constitution to trample on minority rights.

“I think it’s awesome,” said businessman Kevin Snieszko, a 1991 graduate, who was among bystanders gathered by the administration building. “Finally, people are standing up for their First Amendment rights. It’s gone beyond a name now. People are getting sick of constantly being told what to do.”

Mr. Sniesko wants to keep the school name, mascot, and logo. He did not grow up African American, Latin American, Asian American, or Native American. He has no clue that this name is racist and insensitive to many Native Americans and he (Sniesko) could care less.

The District wanted to change the logo and mascot slowly but because of the mounting political pressure they made the move immediately.

The district quickly changed its mascot reference on its website, noting the district’s mission of pride, tradition, and spirit. The old logo has been replaced by a red “L” and a detailed explanation of the board’s resolution to drop the nickname appears.

lancaster new york high school L logo

The Lancaster School District made this move to quell the decent of other sports team in the district. The Lancaster Lacrosse team did not play many of their games this year because other teams would not come on the field with them. Other schools cite Lancaster’s nick-name as the reason for not having the contest. Lacrosse is a Native American sport and many in Northern New York that play this sport are Native American.

1) The Washington Football Club could be a shining example of racial harmony by changing their name.

2) School districts state and federal government should remove sports revenues from schools with the “Redskins” name. It may be a Civil Rights violation.

3) Lancaster High School parents and students should understand the emotional feelings of Native American New Yorkers playing the game their ancestors created.

4) The R-WORD only exists today because of the lack of political, economic, and social power. The power needed to influence local, state and federal government officials to change the name.

This is another small step to end the use of the R-WORD to describe a sports team

It Is Time. Thank you Board of Education Lancaster, New York. You have brightened my day as an African American-Native American/First Nation.

Then you have individuals like singers and songwriters (white- female) Zoe Guess and(Black-male) Emerson Windy that use Native American/First Nation images to their advantage and profit not knowing the religion, culture, or heritage. That’s another story for another time.

Special thanks to ABC 7 WKBW Buffalo, New York and The Washington Post

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com


©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod


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