Read here a brief letter that our Lead Pastor, Rev Will, wrote to the School Committee as they met to discuss changing the Winchester High School mascot this past week. Thanks to other members of our congregation who wrote as well.
Dear School Committee Members,
Thank you for taking up the important topic of our High School’s mascot tonight at your meeting. As pastor of First Congregational Church in Winchester, I cannot speak for my entire congregation but I would like to speak as an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, the pastor of the oldest church in town, and the father of 2 daughters who played on the varsity soccer team for the school.
I encourage you to take this historic moment in time to do the right thing and change the school mascot. The indigenous people of this land have suffered enough at the hands of the dominant culture of European descendants and they are not honored or served by our having their name and imagery as a mascot for our school. It is patronizing, condescending, and hurtful. It fosters stereotypic attitudes towards Native Americans and brushes over the extremely painful historical realities that the native peoples endured and continue to experience.
If cities like my home town of Richmond, Va can dismantle the statues on Monument Ave in an effort to stop memorializing and celebrating our slave-owning past and professional soccer players around the world can take a knee before every game to highlight that “black lives matter”, I believe that Winchester at this moment in time can be courageous enough to remove this mascot from our school as a simple but important step – among many that still need to be taken! – towards greater justice and deeper respect for those this country has failed to serve well enough.
Thanks for your dedication and work on behalf of our town.