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California Assemblyman, Tribal Leaders to Hold Press Conference to Back Anti-Mascot Bill

A press conference will be held in California on Wednesday to call for the passage of a bill that would remove the R-word from all public schools.

A press conference will be held at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to call for the passage of Assembly Bill 30, the California Racial Mascots Act, which is geared to remove the R-word slur from public schools throughout the state.

The press conference will take place in Capitol Room 127 following a Senate Education Committee hearing where state and national Native American leaders, public health professionals and student activists will testify in support of the legislation. The press conference will be a chance for reporters to hear directly from these advocates about the damaging effects that this dictionary-defined slur has on American Indians and why it is critical that this harmful word be removed from our schools.

The Senate hearing is also open to the press and the public.

Introduced and authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, this legislation would prohibit the purchase of new school merchandise bearing the R-word after January 1, 2017 and require all California schools to phase out the term from their athletic teams by January 1, 2019. It would also prohibit schools from buying or distributing any materials, including newspapers, programs or yearbooks, which bear the slur. AB 30 will mitigate costs for the schools by allowing them to temporarily continue using uniforms and other materials purchased before January 1, 2017.

In addition to those testifying in-person, nearly two dozen Native American, civil rights and religious organizations and thought leaders have signed a letter sent to the Senate Education Committee expressing their strong support of this legislation..

Among those testifying and participating the press conference will be:.

-California State Assembly Member Luis Alejo.

-James Kinter, Tribal Secretary of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

-Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown, a Miwok Indian student and football player at a California high school whose rival school uses an R-word mascot.

-Ray Halbritter, Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of Americans Indians, and leader of the grassroots Change the Mascot campaign.

-Dr. Michael Friedman, noted clinical psychologist who has done extensive research on children and discrimination.

WHAT: California Tribal Leaders, National Tribal Leaders, Public Health Professionals, and Student Activists to Participate in a Press Conference and Provide Testimony to Senate Education Committee on the Harmful Effects of R-word Mascots at the Hearing for Assembly Bill 30 - The California Racial Mascots Act..

WHERE: California State Capitol, 1301 10th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. The hearing will take place in the John L. Burton Hearing Room (4203). The press conference will take place in Room 127..

WHEN: Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. Pacific. The press conference will begin at 11:30 a.m. Pacific..

R.S.V.P.: Joel Barkin, jbarkin@oneida-nation.org, (315) 361-8173.