White supremacists incited deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week in defense of a Confederate monument. We must show the country that Albany gives no safe harbor to such hatred. We must change the mascot name “Rebel” at the South Albany High School campus.

Confederate symbols on public land, in effect, endorse a movement founded on white supremacy. If our government continues to pay homage to the Confederacy, people of color can never be sure they will be treated fairly. And we will never solve our community’s problems if an entire group of citizens is alienated or feels targeted for discrimination.

Confederate symbols belong in museums. In museums, we can learn their full history.

But it is past time to change the “Rebel” mascot to an appropriate mascot that celebrates the best in all our students. Superintendent Golden, Albany School Board, Albany City Council and the rest of our community should research a new and fitting name that will be the pride of our community not a blot on our reputation. Then we should act.

Peter Goodman

Albany (Aug. 25)

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