Dreaming big for local change

Courtesy of Wikipedia The now-discarded statue of Cal Griffith

The Minnesota Twins quietly took down former owner Calvin Griffith’s statue in front of their stadium. Griffith became known for his 1978 racist remarks on having moved his then-Washington Senators club to the Twin Cities because there weren’t many Blacks here. Other statues of figures with racist pasts also have been toppled around the U.S. during the past month. 

We’ve also seen iconic product brands created with racial stereotypes and caricatures finally being shelved as the Black Lives Matter protests, now going into their second month, are demanding meaningful change. Things are happening all around us at warp speed. 

“Right now I do believe it is a time to ask for everything, to dream big,” advised University of Oregon Associate Professor Courtney Cox, who teaches race, culture, politics and global issues.

Following is our “Black list” of changes that we’d like to see around here:

  • Rename University of Minnesota buildings: Kwame McDonald, Leroy Gardner, Dr. Josie Johnson, Matthew Little, and Mahmoud El-Kati are excellent suggestions.
  • Rename the Gophers football stadium Sandy Stephens Field.
  • Erect statues for McDonald and Gardner, two men who advised Black students to come and stay at the U. Honor them by renaming media rooms for them in Maturi Pavilion and The Barn.
  • Retire Archie Clark and Bobby Jackson’s jerseys in Williams Arena.
  • Rename Olson Memorial Highway and rename it Prince Rogers Nelson Highway.
  • Remove Olson’s statue as well.

On a national level, we demand:

  • Blacks get the right of first refusal whenever a pro team is up for sale.
  • Blacks are hired for key decision-making positions with these teams.
  • Blacks are intentionally hired as assistant commissioners to be groomed as the eventual successor when the opening arise.
  • A Black CNN, ESPN and HBO finally get started and operated.
  • An all-Black full-time sports talk channel on Sirius XM.

While we are in the midst of this fight for racial equality amidst a pandemic, and while corporations and others seem to be experiencing a racial awareness, there might not be a better time to make our longstanding demands for change.

“If change is going to be occurring, [the important thing] is the longevity over time,” Cox noted. “I think it’s about [evaluating] in five years what have you done.” 

They said it…

“I am concerned for everything after this pandemic and whatever the new normalcy looks like. That kind of sucks, to be honest.” – Meghan McPeak, one of America’s few Black female play-by-play announcers, on anticipated media coverage of live games.

“I don’t think there will be a day when we rewind back and operate like we were. It is going to be a slow roll…until we get a new vaccine.” – Turner Sports VP Tara August, one of television sports’ highest ranking women of color on sports post-coronavirus.

Rutgers Associate Professor Dr. Brittany Cooper urges Black women to reclaim “the angry Black woman” position often given when anger is expressed. “I think Black people always have been clear about their rage,” she said in a recent New York Times article.