Fresno school mascot sparks heated debate about racism

A virtual town hall is being held to help the school board decide the fate of Fresno High School's mascot.

Friday, November 13, 2020
Fresno school mascot sparks heated debate about racism
More than 5,000 people have signed a petition to remove the Fresno High 'Warriors' mascot, which some say is offensive to Native American culture.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For over a century, students and alumni of Fresno High School have called themselves 'Warriors'.

But now, many are calling to retire what they call a 'racist' mascot.

Jamie Nelson spoke in support of changing the school mascot during an online town hall on Thursday.

He created a petition over the summer that's already collected more than 5,100 signatures in support of changing the mascot's image.

"This is about us, about our people...this is about our culture that's being chiseled down," he says.

But some alumni disagree and are fighting back with their own petition.

They support the longtime mascot, saying it embraces the local native heritage.

"I see this image of the warrior mascot, and it strengthens my view of strength and overall school spirit," says Joshua Washburn.

Fresno Unified trustee Carol Mills was in the virtual town hall.

Action News reached out to her for comment and She said, "I feel the town hall should have focused only on the current image and its use."

Mills went on to say, "It is clear that the community, including Native Americans in the Fresno High community, are divided in their opinion of the image."

The comments made during the meeting will now go to the board, and they will discuss the mascot's image during their meeting on December 9th.