Letter to the editor: Name change
To the editor:
Having served as the principal at Pinckney Elementary from 2015 to 2019, I have watched the ongoing discussion around changing the name of Pinckney neighborhood and Pinckney Elementary. Pinckney school has such a diverse student body, both racially and economically, so on behalf of the current, former and future students, I support the act of changing the name to better reflect the community.
What you might not know is that for the last four years, Pinckney students, staff and parents have been broadening their knowledge of important people in history through an equity project called Hero of the Week. Each week a different person is featured. Most are from marginalized groups, people not included in our typically whitewashed history. The classroom discussions include the person’s contribution to the world, details from his or her childhood, obstacles he or she faced and the characteristics that made that person successful. Classrooms are provided photos and videos of the person for the discussion. We want the students to see themselves in these heroes.
I hope that the name discussion will consider a few of the names from the Hero of the Week project. Surely there is a person of color on this list whose life experiences represent the continued fight for equality and the end of systemic racism. I hope that parents, staff and community members will find a way to include former and current students in this discussion.
I realize that the consideration around a name change may seem minor in the grand scheme, but this is a chance to provide our children a model of what it means to use their voice for change, even if it’s as small as a name change to their neighborhood and school.