Carnegie Vanguard High School Student Speaks To ADL Board

  • December 19, 2013

Carnegie Vanguard student Maya Fontenot spoke to ADL board members in December to express her appreciation for ADL’s support in efforts to change offensive school mascot names and convey how hurtful those mascot names could be.

The high school senior also was one of the speakers at a Houston Independent School District (HISD) board meeting where the name changes were considered, discussed, and unanimously passed.  She said she urged HISD board members to “do away with a tradition objectifying a culture, and turning an entire race into a caricature.”  

The mascot name changes were sparked by objections to the Lamar High School Redskins team name and mascot.

Fontenot, who said she was both Native American and African American, said reducing a race into a “brand so trivial as a mascot is insulting to indigenous people.”

Her eloquence moved both the school board and ADL’s board, and ADL board members thanked her for her articulate, effective words.

ADL wrote a letter to HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier, urging the name change, and Regional Director Martin B. Cominsky attended the meeting at which Fontenot spoke.