December 2019Campaigns

“Change the Name” Advocates to Drop Petitions on Football Team

For the past five years, the grassroots organization Rebrand Washington Football (RWF) has been campaigning to persuade the local professional football team to change its name, which is a dictionary-defined slur against Native Americans. Its members have been tabling outside Metro stations, at farmers’ markets and other public spots collecting signatures on its petitions demanding that the team change its name and its stereotypical Native logo.

For the fifth consecutive December, RWF will present to representatives of team owner Daniel Snyder a sort of holiday gift: the petitions collected during the year with signatures of members of the public demanding a name change. Readers of the Washington Socialist are invited to participate! On Saturday, December 7, please join RWF, Native American allies, and other supporters aboard a luxury charter bus (with a restroom!) to deliver the petitions to the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia. The bus departs from the Rosslyn Metro station at 9 AM. From 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. RWF will hold a rally outside the team’s gates featuring speakers and Native ceremonies and songs. Among the speakers will be DC Councilmember David Grosso (at-large) and Native activists Mary Phillips (Omaha/Laguna), Joe Gaines (Choctaw), and Nick Courtney (Makah). The bus will return to Rosslyn at noon.

“Mr. Snyder continues to cling to a racial slur and a stereotype for a mascot and a name,” said RWF co-founder Josh Silver. “We will be giving him a white paper that summarizes psychological studies showing the damage done by this insidious name. He still has a chance to lead and repent by changing the name. We hope he does so soon!”

During 2019 RWF has collected over 1,700 signatures in favor of changing the name, bringing its five-year total to almost 9,000.

In addition to circulating petitions, RWF has campaigned to remove the monument to George Preston Marshall outside RFK Stadium, the former home of the football team. Marshall, the founder of the franchise, gave the team its racist moniker. He refused to integrate the team until pressure from the Kennedy administration made the change a pre-condition for use of the federal land on which the stadium sits.

The forthcoming white paper by Silver examining the harms caused by stereotypical Native images and logos to both Native and non-Native youth will be available on RWF’s website at rebrandwf.org.

Contact Bill Mosley at billmosley@comcast.net if you plan to ride the bus to Ashburn.  

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