About the Emblem

I sent public comment letters to the Board of Instruction of the Santa Maria Joint Union Higher School District (SMJUHSD) and the Santa Maria City Council. The letters problem the district’s and city’s logos: a depiction of Christopher Columbus’s ship. A copy of the letter to Town Council can be observed in its agenda packet for its meeting on March 11. (https://cityofsantamaria.civicweb.internet/document/62299, see pages 5-7).

Right here I provide track record on the letters and tackle reactions by the SMJUHSD Board and Town Council.

Very first, there is vast agreement that Columbus and his ship have no historical link to the founding or naming of the Metropolis of Santa Maria. Next, adoptions of the Columbus ship emblem by the school district and metropolis took place decades back.

Concerning the SMJUHSD Board

In reaction to my letter, a single of the board users requested that the board adhere to up with a dialogue about the district’s emblem. There is compelling motive to do so.

My letter explained how the use of an graphic of Columbus’s ship as SMJUHSD’s logo is inconsistent with the “History Social Science Framework” adopted by the Point out of California. The framework endorses, as an educational resource for general public college teachers, a get the job done prepared by Bartolomé de las Casas: A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies. Las Casas describes atrocities the Spanish explorers, together with Columbus, brought upon Indigenous men and women of the Americas.

Moreover, the SMJUHSD has a selection of college students of Indigenous ethnicity. This delivers further incentive for its board to assess the present relevance and appropriateness of its emblem.

Concerning Santa Maria Town Council

There is also great cause for the Town Council to reassess the city’s brand.

Like the SMJUHSD, the Metropolis of Santa Maria has numerous people of Indigenous ethnicity. The two jurisdictions share a great deal territory.

Final summer months, the California legislature eliminated the statue of Columbus and his sponsor, Queen Isabella of Spain, from the Capitol rotunda. It did this due to the fact Columbus’s expeditions — which brutalized Indigenous peoples — connote oppression. Isabella compensated for the ships Columbus applied to carry out people expeditions, many of which carried Indigenous slaves again to Spain.

Since of recent and heightened sensitivities all-around institutional or systemic racism, and white privilege (such issues, I accept, several Americans dispute exist), many towns have similarly taken off statues of Columbus from their public places.

Admittedly, it will be complicated and highly-priced for Santa Maria to switch its symbol. It’s visible all about the city, and is also applied as a seal on metropolis files.

Nevertheless, that is an additional rationale for the City Council to study regardless of whether Columbus’s ship genuinely signifies Santa Maria. In contrast to a statue of Columbus or a replica of his ship in a park or museum that people today need to intentionally take a look at to see, the Columbus ship symbol is in metropolis residents’ faces.

On the other hand, numerous people like the logo, and/or see Columbus as a hero and forget about his villainy as comprehensible for his era, or deny he fully commited it. Some separate Columbus from his ship by some accounts, Columbus’s disgruntled crew had the exact concept in intellect at situations.

Ethnic justice and sensitivities, expenditures, logistics and public sentiment are variables to be weighed in evaluating the appropriateness of the continued use of Columbus’s ship as a logo. Sad to say, it’s uncertain those people steps will be taken indications are an evaluation of the brand will not be place on the Town Council’s agenda.

Substitute of the Columbus ship symbol with an impression that really signifies Santa Maria’s men and women, corporations, and organizations, could have to have a ethical conclusion, rather than a preferred a single. It may also need to be a brave one particular.

Scott Fina is a Santa Maria resident.