Mascot bill signed; puts school logos to the test

Governor Doyle signs race-based mascot bill, witnessed by students from Prescott High

Gov. Jim Doyle has signed into law SB25, requiring the Wisconsin Department of Instruction to set up a process to mediate disputes about schools that use race-based mascots. Noting that Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to enact legislation of this sort, Barb Munson of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association said, "I have seen the best spirit of Wisconsin in action - people of all ages, races and ethnicities working together to make things better for all the children in our state."  Full WIEA statement here, Wisconsin Radio Network report here.

An earlier  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report: Three dozen Wisconsin schools - including four in the Milwaukee metro area - could have their team names or logos challenged under a bill aimed at curbing the use of American Indian nicknames and mascots.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle has said he will soon sign the bill, creating what supporters say would be the first law in the country to bar many race-based mascots and team names in public schools.

Earlier report:

Senate Bill 25, the race-based mascot, logo and nickname bill, passed the Assembly in a final  53-45 vote on Tuesday night, April 20, and now awaits signature by Gov. Doyle. The bill provides a means of resolving discrimination complaints based on the use of race-based 'Indian" logos, mascots and team names through a form of mediation provided by the Department of Public Instruction.

The bill's success was the result of a years-long effort by Wisconsin's native American citizens and their allies, led by the Wisconsin Indian Education Association Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force, headed by WNPJ Board member Barb Munson.

The bill passed the State Senate on Tuesday, April 13, by a 17-16  vote. 

Direct appeal to the DPI and 45 day time limits for the process are intended to lessen pressure on complainants and divisiveness in the communities in which they reside. The bill does not apply to school district names (Blackhawk School District) or to town names (Mosinee, Seneca), but only to actual school team designations.

The bill will continue to allow districts with ambiguous names, such as "Raiders," "Warriors," or "Blackhawks," to make simple changes to their imagery without losing their nicknames. (From 'Indian' imagery to pirates, foxes, ancient warriors, or birds.) The bill will not automatically mandate change to any district's team name or mascot. A community with native and non-native people who are satisfied with their logo, mascot, or team name would not generate any complaints, and would be outside the scope of this legislation.

For more information, contact:  Barbara Munson <>







Groundwork is excited to announce our new monthly dialogue series!





FORWARD! Finding Our Roles: White Anti-Racist Dialogues

Every third Sunday of the month from 3:30-5:30 at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center (953 Jenifer St.)

Sunday, April 18th: Supporting the Immigrant Rights Movement

Sunday, May 16th: Supporting the Take Back the Land Movement

FORWARD! will be an ongoing gathering of white folks working for Racial Justice. We will work to educate ourselves to be strong anti-racist allies in our community! We will gather to learn about the organizing being done in communities of color and how we, as white folks can support this work.

These gatherings will offer a space to recognize and process racism we see in ourselves and our communities. We come together to learn much needed skills to broaden our understanding of racism and combat it effectively and directly from our hearts.

The first gathering will be Sunday, April 18. We will be learning about the work going on locally and nationally for immigrant rights, and how we can support this work.

If you can't make it to all of them, its okay, you chose your level of involvement. The forums will vary from month to month, involving both presentation and open discussion time. We ask people to come with questions, while having faith in the process- give the agenda a chance to answer.

We will work to develop strong white leaders who have a clear understanding of systematic racism, how it affects communities of color, and of what ally-ship looks like.

Please contact us with any questions you may have:

Please note: people of color are welcome to attend, understanding our goal to develop strong, accountable white anti-racist allies.

"As Beverly Daniel Tatum points out, to be white in America and do nothing about it[Racism] is to participate in passive racist behavior; the equivalent of standing sill on a moving walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along. Unless a person is walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt—unless they are actively antiracist—they will find themselves carried along with the others. To be white and actively antiracist means seeking to interrupt the advantage system; to change the structures of power that give advantage based on skin color." -Invisible Enemies: Thoughts on Racism and White Privilege

"I believe in our power, the ability to alter power, and making improvements in peoples lives -- of course, all based in love." -Cedric Lawson