BELMONT, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – More signs and plenty to say from people looking to Retire the Red Raider, a mascot at South Point High School in Belmont.
“Gaston County school board has refused to meet with us,” says Rebecca LaClaire, with Metrolina Native American Association. “With parents, with tribal leaders, with students. So, we’re here again just to let them know we’re not going to stop.”
The demand for change has been ongoing for over two and a half years.
Members of different Native American nations spoke about how the mascot is offensive, and there’s plenty of support from others in the community.
“How is it 2022, and we are a week removed from Indigenous Peoples Day, and we’re having to assemble individuals from the community to outwardly decry and call for the removal of a racist, antiquated mascot,” James Ford, executive director of the Center For Racial Equity and Education, told the crowd.
In the meeting, signs were still displayed as some spoke during the public expression portion of the Gaston County Schools agenda. Board members said they don’t comment after the public expression portion of the agenda.
It’s also been the board’s stance that any change of the mascots must be done on the school community level.
“We are going to keep this in front of you,” added one speaker. “You keep saying it’s a local issue. I get nothing from the principal and the school at South Point.”
No one spoke in support of the mascot during the meeting, and those with the Retire the Red Raider group hope to hear from board members soon.
“You have my number; you have my email,” added LaClaire, when talking to the board. “Why haven’t you just reached out and said, let’s have a meeting and talk about this. The mascot is going to be changed. We’re asking for some collaboration.”