SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The names of several Sacramento schools are on the chopping block, targeted for donning the names of controversial historical figures.
Along the brick at Sutter Middle School were the words “home” and “distinguished,” bringing a sense of comfort and pride. But Emily Mizokami says there’s nothing to proud of in the word “Sutter.”READ MORE: 'My Heart Rate Definitely Went Up': Sacramento Officers Use Virtual Reality To Train On Real World Encounters
“To know that such a horrible person is going to be on their diplomas and on their PE clothes and where they say they went to school, it just really bothered me,” Mizokami told CBS13.
Mizokami is on a mission to change the names of several schools, saying it’s time to stop honoring racist legacies.
“That’s the difference to me. There’s a difference between teaching history and honoring historical figures,” said Mizokami.
Sacramento city historian Marcia Eymann understands the concern.
“He was the first Anglo to settle here and so give him credit for that, but does that earn him the right to have schools named after him when you consider that he did a lot of other things, including enslaving and taking advantage of Native Americans? Yeah, no I don’t think that’s a good thing, at all,” said Eymann.
But not all historians agree.READ MORE: Counties Turn To Flea Markets, Grocery Stores To Host Small Vaccine Clinics
“I think the people that are doing that are destroying the future of actual Sacramento history in this country,” said Gregg Lukenbill, Vice President of the Sacramento Historical Society.
Lukenbill calls the nationwide movement to get rid of names and statues of controversial historical figures, nativist terrorism. Lukenbill considers John Sutter a genius.
“I’m saying he absolutely did not enslave Native Americans,” said Lukenbill. “He nurtured the Indians. He nurtured the Spanish. He didn’t enslave people. He came out here by himself. How’s he going to do that when he was alone?”
Meanwhile, Mizokami says getting rid of Sutter’s name will not erase him from history.
“It’s still going to be in the history books. It’s still going to be taught in their schools,” said Mizokami.Grass Fire Burns Near Homes In South Sacramento
A committee taking up the issue is made up of 27 people, including parents, teachers and Native Americans. They will begin meeting again in August and then the school board will vote on whether or not to change the names.