To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Dixie Name Must Change!
I am writing to voice my support of a name change for Dixie State University. I know you have seen the data and listened to both sides of this argument. I have read many of the statements made by Alumni and other community members who do not support the name change. Some of the comments have been disappointing and disheartening. They have indicated that they know that black face, slave auctions, Confederate flags and soldiers have all been used in the past by the school, but so what? Other schools in our country have done the same. Or that Dixie means something different in Utah. I have read comments about the disrespect to the pioneers who settled Southern Utah and their history in establishing the cotton mission. I have read the clear message they have sent that they are not going to bow to the “cancel culture” happening in our country at this time.
I have many thoughts, but I will try to be succinct.
- The fact that the disrespectful, racists use of black face, slave auctions, Confederate flags and soldiers have been a part of Dixie State’s past is shameful. No nice way to say it! To try and justify it or explain it away by saying “other kids have done it” is wrong! Our state should be leading in the efforts to end racism and ANYTHING that conjures those feelings for ANYONE. Our church leaders from all denominations have been calling for such an action immediately.
- I come from pioneer stock. My ancestors were part of the migration and settlement of Utah. They went through unthinkable hardships and we owe them so much. But I am quite certain that from the vantage point that they now occupy, they have no issues with a name change; moreover, I think they are probably championing a change that shows a community of people who are embracing and thoughtful to everyone. I think this would be more important to them given their experiences of prejudice and injustice they endured during their lifetime.
- Finally, and most personal to me, I have two beautiful, accomplished sons who are black. I have had people say to me, “surely they don’t experience racism HERE!” Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. One of my sons is an accomplished soccer player who has played all over the US and overseas. I watched his humiliation when playing a high school soccer game, and the only black player on the pitch, when he was called a “porch monkey”. This was heard by the ref and the game was stopped. He had been called other names and was harassed the entire game. I asked why he did not tell the ref earlier. He said he would not have been believed. Just a few weeks ago, he was walking to his car in a Home Depot parking lot when a truck almost ran him over, flipped him off and said he was for cops not thugs. My other son is a 4.0 student. He has amazing computer and math skills and is in his senior year with many promising college opportunities. He was with some friends in a store recently. It was a large group. When they went through the automatic doors, the alarm sounded. Security came and immediately pulled my son aside and searched him and his bags while the other kids left. He had not stolen anything. He has never stolen anything or done any illegal act. He felt embarrassed and hurt.
These are just a few of their experiences with racism. I share them because I want our community to understand that words DO hurt. Names DO create labels. Attitudes in our state have a long way to go and every step counts. PLEASE see my sons’ faces and those of our black brothers and sisters. Let us make our state one that lives above reproach and loves all. Let us speak to the world that we welcome all and value all! I believe with all my heart this would make our pioneer ancestors proud!
Thank you for your time!
Sent from Mail for Windows 10