Letters to the editor: change the ‘Redskins’ name; fund early childhood education


June 18, 2014

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento's River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

NORMA ALCALA: representing West Sacramento’s River City Democratic Club (News-Ledger file photo)

Change the ‘Redskins’!

During the NBA Finals, viewers saw a message sponsored in part by the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribe of Yolo County.  The commercial highlights a racial slur that has persisted as the name of a team mascot for over seventy years:  “Redskins.”  For many years, Native Americans, including the National Congress of American Indians,  have asked the Washington  Redskins to change the name of their mascot.  The name “Redskins” has its historical origins in a deplorable history of genocide against Native Americans, including massacres at “Wounded Knee,” “Eagle Lake,” and “the Trail of Tears.”  To many Native Americans, “Redskins” is an offensive racial slur in the same manner that the “n” word is offensive to African Americans or the “w” word is offensive to Latinos.

Recently on YouTube, I listened with great admiration to courageous statements from Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal leaders Marshal McKay and James Kinter calling for an end to seventy years of racial slurs by the Washington Redskins. It is appalling that in the wake of the Clippers scandal such racial slurs are not universally condemned.

I see many similarities in the actions of Washington team owner Daniel Snyder and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers.  I am particularly disturbed that Daniel Snyder defends rather that apologizes for the slurs.  Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should put an end to a seventy year old racial slur that has persisted far too long and change the team mascot.

NFL owners should grant Tribal chairman Marshal McKay and Tribal Secretary James Kinter an opportunity to speak to them and make their case for changing the name.  If the NBA can force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers over a racial slur, surely the NFL can require a team owner to cease marketing a racial slur.  The NBA permitted Kevin Johnson to address them concerning retention of the Kings.  How much more important is it for the NFL to allow tribal leaders to speak to them concerning the eradication of a vestige of racism?

President River City Democratic Club
West Sacramento


June 11, 2014

This is a summary of a letter sent by First 5 Yolo to members of the California State Legislature:


Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children's Alliance (courtesy photo)

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (courtesy photo)

Fund the children

After years of program cuts to child care and preschool programs, including the elimination of over $1 billion in funding and 110,000 child care slots in California, this year brings an exciting opportunity for reinvestment in early education.  The Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Senate and Assembly budget committees recently adopted budget priorities for funding child care and early education.

First 5 Yolo thanks the legislature for making children and families a priority again in California and urges moving forward with a timely budget to the Governor that includes 1) increasing payments to private child care providers serving low-income children, 2) increasing child care subsidy slots, preschool w/wrap around care and part-day preschool slots, 3) increasing funding for on-going and one-time only quality improvement activities such as professional development for child care providers, 4) eliminating state preschool family fees and, 5) adjusting existing programs to provide and strengthen early learning and care opportunities for all low-income children

A 2010 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman demonstrated that every dollar invested in high quality early education generates seven dollars in returns.

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke stated “Economically speaking, early childhood programs are a good investment, with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs estimated to reach 10 percent or higher,” and noted by Ross Thompson, distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCD in a recent article “The two distressing realities of the achievement gap are that when children enter school, the gap is already there,” he continued. “The other reality is that school experience doesn’t narrow the achievement gap, it widens it. So to close the achievement gap, to begin narrowing those differences in language ability, mathematical skill, other cognitive abilities, you’ve got to look earlier.”

Child care and early education are critical issues for families in Yolo County, but the cost is frequently too high for First 5 Yolo to make a significant impact.  Therefore, we urge your support to appropriate newly available funds in California to assist in bridging the achievement gap and providing equity in education for the youngest of California children.

First 5 Yolo
First 5 Yolo

  Editor’s note: “First 5 Yolo” is funded through the state by tobacco taxes. The organization supports programs such as early childhood education (hence, “first five years”) that benefit young children.

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