Pressure moves to West Coast
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA — Pressure to have the name of the Washington NFL team changed moves to the West Coast on Sunday, as the Bay Area Coalition Against Racism in Sports launch a campaign that will include a march to and rally at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California where the Washington team plays the San Francisco 49ers.
The rally has been named “Change the Name, Change the Mascot” will take place outside the stadium at 10:00 a.m. – PST.
The campaign calls upon the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to end the use of the racial epithet and its hurtful reminder to the Indigenous peoples of their ongoing mistreatment. The rally will be the largest grassroots demonstration in the San Francisco Bay Area, a continuation of many years of protesting racism in sports, according to organizers.
“The Bay Area has a large Native American Community, a lot of history for our people standing up for our rights, started here in the bay area. We are committed to our culture and traditions, but using our people as mascots is unacceptable. Let’s end this legacy of racism in sports,” comments Kris Longoria, a co-organizer of the event.
“Many grassroots groups and organizations seek to give voice to Native Americans who advocate for the Washington NFL team to change the team’s name. San Francisco is a great backdrop to the November 23rd protest at the 49ers game because of the city’s historic ties to the Indigenous rights movement. The NFL leadership cannot continue to ignore our voice or the fact that Native American themed mascots harm Native American youth,” said Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst, an Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry member.
Participating organizations include: American Indian Movement-West, Bay Area Coalition Against Racism in Sports, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits , Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, Indian People Organizing for Change, Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes, ANSWER COALITION and Idle No More Bay Area California.
Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a sponsor of the demonstrations, has issued a call for support of Native Americans, human rights activists, and others who believe Native Americans deserve the right to determine how our culture and identity is represented in media and who are concerned for the future of Native American youth.
The California protests are part of a series of nationwide actions at NFL games to “Change the Name & Change the Mascot!” that have been held at the Washington team’s away games against the Cardinals, Cowboys, Vikings, and will occur at the Washington team’s home game on December 28, 2014.