Contact: Mark Anquoe, American Indian Movement - West
(415) 566-5788 firstname.lastname@example.org
Corine Fairbanks American Indian Movement – Santa Barbara (805) 212-4947
Native Americans Protest Reinstatement of Racist Mascot
By Mark Anquoe and Corine Fairbanks
CARPINTERIA, California – The Carpinteria based Coalition Against Racism in Education (C.A.R.E.) will hold a rally and protest outside of Carpinteria City Hall on Tuesday, February 10th at 4:30 pm. That evening, the Carpinteria district school board will continue to hear arguments regarding a petition to rescind its own April 2008 decision to remove the Native American sports imagery at Carpinteria High School. C.A.R.E. demands that the previous decision be upheld in accordance with official positions on Native American mascots published by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the National Education Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, among others.
The demonstration is also being held to draw attention to the threats and intimidation against the Native American community that have become commonplace since the 2008 ruling. Supporters of the racist mascot have made multiple death threats against Eli Cordero, the 15 year old Chumash youth who originally petitioned the school board to remove the imagery. A child of one of the supporting school board members was also targeted, prompting the child’s transfer to another school. No one has been charged with making the threats, as police have refused to recognize any “credible threat”. Those who publicly support the mascot’s removal have been refused service at local restaurants, harassed in their homes and even pursued into and accosted at their churches.
Protest organizers expect aggressive opposition at the Tuesday rally. At a protest on January 27th, the Federal Department of Justice sent an agent from their Los Angeles office to ensure proper police protection of demonstrators. Previous protests have been met with mascot supporters shouting racist epithets, spitting, and throwing rocks.
Although the Carpinteria school board will hear arguments on Tuesday, it is not expected to vote on the matter until February 24th. C..A.R.E is also organizing a rally and march on that date.