San Franciscans push back on bid to ‘cancel’ Abe Lincoln, George Washington

Daily News Article   —   Posted on February 1, 2021

More than [15,555] people [as of Sunday night] have signed an online petition slamming the school board’s controversial vote to scrap the names of former US presidents and war heroes with ties to racism or oppression.

The goal is to drum up enough public criticism to convince board members not to strip away the names during an April 19 meeting —  where they plan to decide how specifically to rename the schools, said Lope Yap Jr, vice president of San Francisco’s George Washington high school alumni association.

“Public pressure could influence their process,” Yap said. “If they get enough backlash they might reconsider.”

Along with the petition, hundreds of school alumni have written letters to the school board bashing the choice to yank down the names of figures ranging from Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere to US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

“We feel that whether socialist, conservative or independent, if you honor truth in history, politics needs to be put to the side,” Yap said. “We don’t want to erase things.”

He also bashed the school board’s claim that Lincoln was discriminatory and damaging to Native Americans.

“His accomplishments overwhelm any dark history,” he said. “They forget that abolitionists praised Abraham Lincoln.”

He added, “To me, this issue is nutty.”

Others lambasted the board for everything from promoting “cancel culture” to frivolous spending —  citing the more than $400,000 it will cost to replace signage, sports uniforms and gym floors in schools.

But Yap said he’s aware of no current plans to take legal action against the school board to reverse the measure. “If there is going to be a lawsuit it’s not gonna happen before [April] 19th,” he said.

Published at nypost .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.


Excerpted from a Jan. 27 NY Post article by Natalie O'Neill:
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are history in San Francisco.

The city voted on January 27 to rename 44 schools honoring the trio and other “racist” historical figures — drawing a raft of criticism over the latest dose of cancel culture.

In a controversial move, the city’s board of education voted 6-1 Monday to scrap the namesakes.

Other historical figures yanked from school buildings include Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere and author Robert Louis Stevenson.

Replacing signage, sports uniforms and gym floors in schools is expected to cost more than $400,000 — and has drawn a mountain of criticism.

“Abolitionist Frederick Douglass praised Lincoln. Several historians have refuted the advisory committee’s conclusion regarding Lincoln,”  Lope Yap Jr, vice president of San Francisco’s George Washington high school alumni association told the school board. “Mount Vernon sent you a letter extolling Washington and his overall accomplishments, even after pointing out Washington’s dark history (Washington was a slave owner).”

He added, “Lincoln is President Obama’s favorite president.”

Others, including the mayor, have argued the school board should instead be focused on reopening during the coronavirus pandemic...

“It’s offensive to parents who are juggling their children’s daily at-home learning schedules with doing their own jobs and maintaining their sanity,” Mayor London Breed said in October. “It’s offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends.”

From a San Francisco Chronicle report by Joshua Bote on Jan. 27:

Mayor London Breed said in a statement [on Jan. 27]: "This is an important conversation to have, and one that we should involve our communities, our families, and our students. What I cannot understand is why the School Board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn’t a plan to have our kids back in the classroom by then."

"Let’s bring the same urgency and focus on getting our kids back in the classroom, and then we can have that longer conversation about the future of school names," her statement goes on to read.

But others, such as [a] parent of a student at Lowell High — another school set to be renamed — were concerned that the renaming deflects on the broader, more crucial issue of schools reopening.

"Is this meant to distract parents so we don't ask what the school reopening plan is? Do they have one?  Why isn't that the first item on their agenda?"

"It's deeply disappointing," said Seeyew Mo, the executive director of Families for San Francisco, a parent advocacy group, "that the School Board paid zero attention to community input, even to the point of ignoring factual corrections." The group published a report earlier this month, calling the work done by the renaming committee "deeply flawed."