Petition filed requesting name change for Dixie School District calls name 'racist'

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- In San Rafael Tuesday morning was a next step that some residents believe comes 155 years too late.

"Words matter. Dixie hurts people," said Dixie school board member Marnie Glickman.




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Tuesday began round three, chapter two of a decades-long saga over the name of the Dixie School District.

Tuesday morning, school board member Glickman and supporters served the district a petition requesting a name change. Dixie is racist, they say.

"By keeping this name we attach ourselves to the Confederacy, slavery, segregation. And we are better than that," said Glickman, who supports a new name like Live Oak, Lucas Valley, or Skywalker for the district.

The issue is not over the name of the district's famous Dixie Schoolhouse Museum, but traces to a disagreement regarding intent. Name change proponents say the man who built that structure named the district after Dixie in tribute to the south, where he and the workmen came from.



Opponents from WeAreDixie.org would not appear on camera or allow their names used. They describe this as a manufactured media circus:

"WeAreDixie.org believe the district was named after a Miwok Indian woman." They say in a statement. "...not a single child will receive any tangible benefit from a name change. However, our children are quickly learning that if you stir up enough emotion, facts and logic will not matter."

"Well if you can't make them see the light, you can make them feel the heat," said activist Noah Griffin.

"All across our country we have symbols that are coming down," added Dan Daniels of the NAACP. "I live in this community. I think this community has taken steps to keep people out."

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The name change issue has certainly become controversial, if not threateningly toxic in this predominantly white community which does not see itself in a racist light.

Last August, when we asked superintendent Jason Yamashiro if he saw a connotation between the name Dixie and the confederacy, he said, "I do."

After receiving petitions Tuesday, Yamashiro steered clear of commenting.

The board will discuss those petitions at a meeting Tuesday night. Opponents vow to not attend.

They say that would be divisive.
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