The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
U.S. Civil Rights Commission, New York Department of Education Call for End to Native American Mascots
Feature Story by Helen Norton - 5/1/2001
On April 13, 2001, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called for an end to the use of American Indians as mascots, logos, and nicknames at schools and universities.
The Commission stated its call "for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-Native schools. The Commission deeply respects the right of all Americans to freedom of expression under the First Amendment and in no way would attempt to prescribe how people can express themselves. However, the Commission believes that the use of Native American images and nicknames in schools is insensitive and should be avoided. . . .Schools have a responsibility to educate their students; they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of any culture or people."
Earlier, on April 5, 2001, the New York State Education Department called for school boards "to end the use of Native American mascots as soon as practical." In making this recommendation, the Department noted that such race-related practices "can become a barrier to building a safe and nurturing school community and improving academic achievement for all students. . . .Schools must provide a safe and supportive environment that promotes achievement of the standards for all children. The use of Native American mascots by some schools can make that school environment seem less safe and supportive to some children, and may send an inappropriate message to children about what is or is not respectful behavior toward others."
The Department announced plans to review schools' progress in this area next year.
In recent years, several New York school districts have become part of a growing national trend to retire Native American sports team nicknames, mascots, and logos. Several New York colleges and universities -- including St. John's, St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, and Siena College -- have also changed their Native American mascots.