West Elementary School Renaming
West Elementary School Renaming
In summer 2020, Mayor Bowser formed the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) Working Group. She charged the group with evaluating named DC government-owned facilities and making recommendations as to what, if any, actions need to be taken if the person the facility is named for is inconsistent with DC values and in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism.
In the group's report, released in early September 2020, they recommend renaming 21 DCPS schools and school buildings, including West Elementary School. A nomination form released in February to suggest new school names received over 150 responses. From that list, a group of DCPS and school stakeholders narrowed the names down to the following six finalists for public input. Please complete the form below to provide your feedback on these names. Input from this survey will be considered by Chancellor Ferebee and Mayor Bowser in selecting a new school name to propose to DC Council.
This form will remain open to responses until Friday, April 30 at 11:59pm.
Biographies of Nominated Names
- Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) - Mr. Ashe is the only African American male tennis player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon singles titles. He was also the only African American man to earn the number 1 ranking in the world and the first to earn induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame. His activism included pushing for the creation of inner-city youth tennis programs, helping to found the Association of Men's Tennis Professionals, speaking out against apartheid South Africa and the United States' treatment of Haitian refugees, and raising awareness about AIDS.
- Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) - Ms. Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress, eventually serving seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. While in office, she played a critical role in the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). She was also the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties.
- Langston Hughes (1902-1967) - A leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Mr. Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. His works displayed his pride in the African American identity and its diverse culture. Mr. Hughes spent time in Washington, DC as a personal assistant to Carter G. Woodson at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and worked briefly for the Washington Sentinel, a Black weekly publication.
- Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) - After earning an associate's degree from Howard University, Hurston moved to New York City's Harlem neighborhood and became a fixture of the Harlem Renaissance. Her writings included plays and novels, with probably her most famous work being "Their Eyes Were Watching God".
- Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) - An African American woman, Lacks' cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, invaluable to medical research and still used today. Lacks' cells came from a tumor biopsied during treatment for cervical cancer and were taken without her permission or knowledge; her case continues to raise concerns about privacy and patients' rights.
- John Lewis (1940-2020) - John Lewis was a leader of the civil rights movement and United States Congressman who served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among his accomplishments, he was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches where marchers were attacked by police, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.