Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

So 1860s: Robert E. Lee Elementary

"We will see the name change, or else we're coming for you."

Lorena Gonzalez (at lectern) thought filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer."
Lorena Gonzalez (at lectern) thought filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer."

California assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez joined the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network and the San Diego Black Police Officers' Association on Wednesday afternoon (December 2) to call for a name change to Robert E. Lee Elementary in Paradise Hills. A community meeting to discuss the proposal, the second to be held, was scheduled to happen later in the evening.

"When community members came to me and said, 'Can you believe we have a school named Robert E. Lee?' I didn't know," Gonzalez told media assembled at City of Grace Church in Lemon Grove. "We don't expect the namesakes of our schools to be perfect. But we do expect the defining moment in their life is something that we can look up to. But the defining moment in Lee's life was the decision to take on the United States so that millions of African Americans could remain enslaved in the name of states' rights."

Gonzalez said she'd anticipated filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer" — she was dismayed at the yearlong process that ensued.

Sponsored
Sponsored

"I had no idea that we'd be fighting a school district in the name of process to have a popular vote. The district didn't have a popular vote when they decided to eliminate meat on Mondays."

Shane Harris (center)

National Action Network chapter president Shane Harris promised rallies involving "several hundred" protesters descending on San Diego Unified School District and possible action from national network leader Al Sharpton if action isn't promptly taken.

"We know the history of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general who clearly doesn't articulate the community of Paradise Hills," Harris said. "We will see the name change, or else we're coming for you. We will rally, we will do whatever we have to in order to ensure that the change happens."

Ben Kelso of the Black Police Officers' Association suggested the school instead be named after Archie Buggs, a former officer who grew up in Paradise Hills and was killed in 1978 while conducting a traffic stop near the school.

"This is not about revising history but about correcting mistakes," Kelso said, echoing Gonzalez's sentiment that Lee's acts of war against the U.S. make his name an odd choice, particularly in a school christened in 1959, nearly a century after the Civil War and in the midst of the civil rights movement.

"The Confederate states were effectively a foreign nation conducting war upon us,” said Kelso. “In 50 years, will be celebrating Osama bin Laden with a school in the United States?"

The community meeting, held later Wednesday evening, pitted students — a majority of current third- through fifth-graders are in favor of a name change — against adults in the community, many of whom felt the name should live on out of a sense of tradition. Some were insulted by what they saw as an intrusion from outside the community.

But "it's beyond a process, beyond a survey. It's time to change the name of this school," Gonzalez concluded. "I can't imagine any black child having to attend a school with the namesake of somebody who hoped that their ancestors would stay enslaved."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego Scottish Highland Games, Lao Food Festival

Events June 22-June 23, 2024
Next Article

Missiongathering San Diego seeks to move away from Christian Nationalism

“God’s love is more radical, inclusive, and far-reaching than we are comfortable with.”
Lorena Gonzalez (at lectern) thought filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer."
Lorena Gonzalez (at lectern) thought filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer."

California assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez joined the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network and the San Diego Black Police Officers' Association on Wednesday afternoon (December 2) to call for a name change to Robert E. Lee Elementary in Paradise Hills. A community meeting to discuss the proposal, the second to be held, was scheduled to happen later in the evening.

"When community members came to me and said, 'Can you believe we have a school named Robert E. Lee?' I didn't know," Gonzalez told media assembled at City of Grace Church in Lemon Grove. "We don't expect the namesakes of our schools to be perfect. But we do expect the defining moment in their life is something that we can look up to. But the defining moment in Lee's life was the decision to take on the United States so that millions of African Americans could remain enslaved in the name of states' rights."

Gonzalez said she'd anticipated filing a request to change the name of the school would be a "no-brainer" — she was dismayed at the yearlong process that ensued.

Sponsored
Sponsored

"I had no idea that we'd be fighting a school district in the name of process to have a popular vote. The district didn't have a popular vote when they decided to eliminate meat on Mondays."

Shane Harris (center)

National Action Network chapter president Shane Harris promised rallies involving "several hundred" protesters descending on San Diego Unified School District and possible action from national network leader Al Sharpton if action isn't promptly taken.

"We know the history of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general who clearly doesn't articulate the community of Paradise Hills," Harris said. "We will see the name change, or else we're coming for you. We will rally, we will do whatever we have to in order to ensure that the change happens."

Ben Kelso of the Black Police Officers' Association suggested the school instead be named after Archie Buggs, a former officer who grew up in Paradise Hills and was killed in 1978 while conducting a traffic stop near the school.

"This is not about revising history but about correcting mistakes," Kelso said, echoing Gonzalez's sentiment that Lee's acts of war against the U.S. make his name an odd choice, particularly in a school christened in 1959, nearly a century after the Civil War and in the midst of the civil rights movement.

"The Confederate states were effectively a foreign nation conducting war upon us,” said Kelso. “In 50 years, will be celebrating Osama bin Laden with a school in the United States?"

The community meeting, held later Wednesday evening, pitted students — a majority of current third- through fifth-graders are in favor of a name change — against adults in the community, many of whom felt the name should live on out of a sense of tradition. Some were insulted by what they saw as an intrusion from outside the community.

But "it's beyond a process, beyond a survey. It's time to change the name of this school," Gonzalez concluded. "I can't imagine any black child having to attend a school with the namesake of somebody who hoped that their ancestors would stay enslaved."

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Luna's Lunpias adds a Filipino twist to Poway

Another covid business has grown into its own
Next Article

Spiny mole crabs can be great bait for larger surf perch

A somewhat odd but very productive week for San Diego fishing
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.