A petition has been started to replace the Manhasset High School mascot. What started out as a personal concern that Joanna Trigg had throughout her academic career at the Manhasset School District has turned into a petition to replace Manhasset’s mascot, which is an image of an Indian head.
The Indian head has been the face of Manhasset High School since the early 1900’s and has remained the same since. Trigg lived in Manhasset for her 18 years and currently resides in Brooklyn. Although her parents have lived in Manhasset for more than 40 years and still live there today.
Since graduating from Manhasset HS in 2004, Trigg has always been an advocate for racial injustice throughout her academic career in the Manhasset school district.
“I graduated from Manhasset High School in 2004, and thought that as some time passed, the mascot would change. it never happened.” Trigg said.
As much as Trigg is going against the High School, she still gives credit to the teachers who taught her everything she knows today about cultural diversity.
“During my 13 years of education in the Manhasset school district, I was taught to think critically and to honor and value diversity and inclusion. I was taught to have empathy towards oppressed people by the wonderful educators I was taught by during my academic career at Manhasset,” she said.
A petition headlined, “Manhasset High School should change the racist mascot,” started out as a small petition in early June and turned into a widely followed page with close to 2,000 signatures. Trigg plans to keep the petition up as long as it takes to get through to the administration of Manhasset.
In an update on the petition page two weeks ago, Trigg let Manhasset residents know how close they were to getting through to the administration.
“It’s time to break 3K signatures on this petition. The board of Education appears open to changing the mascot, but we need to send a powerful message to the community that racism will not be tolerated in Manhasset, or in any community,” the petition read.
“Manhasset needs to realize that the use of caricature as a “Mascot is racist and incredibly insensitive,” signer of the petition, Sophia Colalillo said.
The petition started by Trigg has gotten more signatures than she initially imagined. Trigg ultimately decided to pass the torch over to the Manhasset Justice Initiative (MJI), a group that works with organizations throughout the Manhasset community to bring social justice to the education systems and other local issues.
“The people of MJI are moving forward with all work involving the petition at this point in time.”
MJI is working on advancing the petition and getting the mascot changed. MJI goes by @ManhassetJustice on Instagram and has more than 500 followers.
“The district is aware of a petition to change the district mascot,” Dr. Vincent Butera, Superintendent of Manhasset Schools, said in a statement. “I have and will continue to meet with groups of students and alumni regarding this issue in order to gain input from a variety of stakeholders within our community. I am committed to examining this issue in a thoughtful and inclusive manner as we move forward.”
The school will be consulting amongst faculty and students and is unsure if and when the mascot will be changed. To read about or to sign the petition, visit
www.change.org/p/manhasset-residents-and-manhasset-youth-manhasset-high-school-should-change-their-mascot. For any questions or concerns about the petition moving forward, contact MJI at firstname.lastname@example.org or on instagram at @ManhassetJustice.
—Travis Fortounas is a contributing writer for Anton Media Group