You can’t change me
Don’t you try
We don’t want your white man rules no more
We can live our own way”
bobby womack interview & performance of across 110th street
45 years ago today, Apollo 11 blasted off for the Moon. Ernie would still like to visit there someday.
Albuquerque, NM, July 10, 2014 — Native American organizations and communities from across the country are calling on the Washington NFL team’s corporate sponsors to do what is right for America’s children, and cancel their sponsorship of the Washington football team, starting with Federal Express (Fed-Ex). This week, the Native Voice Network, a virtual community of Native American families and organizations, will launch a national public awareness campaign aimed at NFL sponsoring corporations, urging them to end their affiliation with a mascot and nickname that harms children.The American Psychological Association (APA)* officially called for the immediate end to American Indian mascots based on research showing that mascots establish an unwelcome and often hostile learning environment for Native youth, and increases negative attitudes about Native youth by non-Native youth. But the hurt doesn’t stop there. The APA also found that mascots undermine the educational experience of non-Native students as well. “The findings are clear. Racist mascots hurt Native youth who can’t afford for corporate sponsors to sit on the sidelines in this debate,” says Jennifer Varenchik, a Native American working with youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,** suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native youth in the 15-24 age group—two and half times the national rate. “Our communities are dealing with this crisis founded in the low self-esteem of our children. When young people hear words like the “R-word” and see dehumanizing images about our culture, they are directly impacted and often internalize these negative stereotypes, having detrimental effects on their school work and life choices.”
“The bottom line is that no community-minded corporation should sponsor a mascot that hurts American youth. The mascot debate has been missing the point. The issue is not about who is offending or ‘honoring’ who. The Native Voice Network is making clear that harm is being inflicted on America’s youth –Native and non-Native alike. This can no longer be denied nor tolerated. We hope Federal Express and other NFL sponsors are listening,” comments Laura Harris, Executive Director of Americans for Indian Opportunity, the organizational host of the NVN.
The campaign will begin with a focus on the Washington team’s primary sponsor – Fed-Ex –though the network calls on all the NFL corporate sponsors to do what is right for American youth. “Sprint and Anheuser-Busch immediately pulled their sponsorships of the L.A. Clippers during the Donald Sterling debate, yet they continue to sponsor the Washington team name, adds Varenchik. “Their actions scream hypocrisy. You can’t pick and choose when to stand up against racism.”The Native Voice Network (NVN) seeks to amplify the voice of Native American families, which has been largely absent until now, in the Washington Team name-change debate. The first of many calls to action, the campaign will be the launching issue for the NVN. The NVN plans to grow the network and continue with a multi-issue platform that impacts Native families and communities far into the future. The Native Voice Network is a collaborative network of Native American families and organizations that mobilize through Indigenous cultural values to inspire positive change in Native communities. The Native Voice Network was established in September of 2012, and is currently comprised of twenty-six (26) Native American organizations representing families and communities across the UnitedStates. For a complete list of NVN member organizations please go to http://nativevoicenetwork.nationbuilder.com/about.
Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren and Bebe Buell
Early 1970’s Photo by Globe Photo