Portland School Fears ‘Evergreens’ Mascot Could Have Ties to Lynching

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In Portland, Oregon, a school has delayed a vote that would confirm their new “Evergreens” mascot over fears that the tree could have ties to lynching.

The tree’s imagery prompted at least one board member to successfully argue that Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School –  a school named after a black activist and journalist who covered lynchings – should delay its vote to make the Evergreen tree its official mascot.

“I’m wondering if there was any concern with the imagery there, in using a tree … as our
mascot?” Portland Public Schools Board of Education Director Michelle DePass asked, according to the Portland Tribune.

“I think everyone comes with blind spots, and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot.”

Martin Osborne, a black man who also serves on the committee, said that the choice of the Evergreen tree “had nothing to do with the horrible history of lynching in the United States. Lynching trees typically are not evergreens.”

“We did talk about {the tree’s possible ties to lynching}, but we were looking at the symbolism more as a tree of life than a tree of death,” Martin Osborne said.

DePass suggested that the school run the “Evergreens” name past Wells-Barnett’s family to make sure they are comfortable with it before proceeding to a vote, the Portland Tribune reports.



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