Changing the Name of WHS6/29/2020
Dear Wilson Community,
Over the years, a growing number of students, families and staff at Wilson High School have advocated for changing the name of our school. As some of you may know, President Woodrow Wilson was a known racist and segregationist. He supported the Ku Klux Klan, he (re)segregated the federal workers, and he ensured that racial equality was abandoned by the League of Nations as a founding principle. President Woodrow Wilson’s racist beliefs and policies were evident during his tenure as a governor and university president as well.
As the proud principal of Wilson High School, I also believe that we must change the name of our school and that we must begin this important process now. Given Woodrow Wilson’s racist legacy, it is clear that his beliefs and actions stand in conflict with our school’s and our district’s commitment to racial equity and social justice.
More than 2,000 students, families and staff have signed a petition asking that we rename Woodrow Wilson High School. Last week Hui Hui Hutchinson (‘22), Casimiro Cox (‘22) and Ms. Ellen Whatmore provided powerful testimonies before the school board and advocated for the change. Another one of our student leaders, Mia Sedory ('21), sent a letter to the Superintendent to explain why our school should sever ties with President Woodrow Wilson. Other student groups, including our Black Student Union, have long advocated for this change as well.
We are in early stages of this important process. I hope to meet with PPS district leaders this week to learn more about the policy that governs the naming/renaming of district property. I promise to keep you in the loop as we articulate what the community-engagement process will entail. In the meantime, please read and learn about President Woodrow Wilson’s racist legacy and why other institutions are changing their names as well.
As always, let me know if you have any questions.
--Filip Hristić, Ed.D.Principal, Wilson High SchoolPortland Public Schools