Photograph by Elana Banks
Help Rename OKC Public Schools After Women
Written by Whitney Thomas
In a seemingly progressive move for Oklahoma, Oklahoma City School Board members voted to rename Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Isaac Stand Watie elementary schools, all previously honoring Confederate leaders.
Following the riots in Charlottesville, Charles Henry, a school board member, instigated conversation about the names when he began an investigation of what was behind the name of Jackson Elementary. He was concerned because the school honored Stonewall (not Andrew, whom he originally thought) Jackson. Hendry thought the schools’ students, mostly Hispanic and African-American, should not walk underneath a doorway that held the name of a man who fought to keep slavery legal (NPR).
Initially, Superintendent Aurora Lora wanted to open the issue to parents and community members via a survey; however, board members decided that the board had heard enough community input, and the decision needed to be made.
Chairman Paula Lewis told NewsOK they “had the cart before the horse”, and needed to be decisive and firm in their decision to change the names.
After investigations of the meanings behind names of other schools, Oklahoma City School Board Members decided to vote upon renaming Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Isaac Stand Watie elementary schools, those that been confirmed to possess Confederate-inspired names. It was a unanimous vote, with all in favor of renaming. (NewsOk).
Oklahoma City Public Schools now has an online survey in which you can submit your own ideas for the new names of the schools. This is an opportunity to honor historically significant women, who are underrepresented in monuments and names of federally-funded buildings. We can use this decision to further promote diversity and inclusivity by fighting to honor women of all ethnicities and origins.
To cast your vote, visit this link: https://okcps.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_26tiiMOJIfVMWcl.
Suggest the names of these or other historically impactful women: Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Betty Friedan, Ella Fitzgerald, Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emma Willard