The Washington Socialist <> December 2017
By Bill Mosley
The campaign to pressure the Washington professional football team to change its racist name will advance to the next level on Dec. 9 when a delegation of activists will pay a visit to team headquarters in Ashburn, Va.
For the past three years, the grassroots group Rebrand Washington Football (RWF) has been circulating petitions calling on the team to adopt a new name, as its current one is a dictionary-defined slur against Native Americans. This year, for the third December in a row, members and friends of RFW will hand-deliver petitions gathered during the year to team officials. This year’s petitions bear over 1,900 signatures, bringing the three-year total to more than 5,300.
RFW invites members of Metro-DC DSA to join the delegation to Ashburn. A luxury charter bus will leave the Rosslyn Metro station at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, for the ride to team headquarters. Included in the delegation will be several Native American activists who have campaigned against offensive and stereotyping team names and logos, as well as D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, who sponsored the council’s resolution calling for a name change. The Ashburn event will include remarks from RWF and Native activists as well as a performance of traditional Native songs. The bus will return to Rosslyn at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The campaign for the name change has advanced on other fronts this year. On Oct. 4 the documentary film More Than a Word had its local premiere at the Takoma Busboys and Poets. The film by Standing Rock Sioux filmmakers John and Kenn Little is a powerful indictment of how Washington’s football team has insulted our nation’s oldest communities through adopting a racist team name and appropriating its cultural imagery, and how Native activists, along with non-Native allies, are fighting back for their dignity and identity. The film includes interviews with RWF founders Josh Silver and Ian Washburn.
RWF also has initiated a campaign to remove the monument to team founder George Preston Marshall, located outside RFK Stadium. Marshall not only gave the team its racist name, but also kept the team all-white until 1962, when he was pressured to integrate by the Kennedy administration.
DSA members who would like to join the delegation should RSVP to no later than Dec. 7, as space on the bus is limited. At Rosslyn look for volunteers wearing a burgundy shirt bearing the word “Racialslurs.” Join RWF on Dec. 9 and strike a blow for racial justice!