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Julianne Moore and producer Bruce Cohen are fighting to rename their old high school in Fairfax County, Virginia, which was named after a Confederate general upon its founding in 1959.
The former classmates have created a Change.org petition asking for the Fairfax County School Board to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School to honor civil rights leader and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
“Today, this school is attended by a diverse group of students who should not have to attend a school that bears the name of a man who fought to keep African Americans enslaved,” the petition, which has garnered nearly 29,000 signatures to date, reads. “No one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended and the history of racism it represents, as we and so many alumni of Stuart have felt the need to do our whole lives.”
J.E.B Stuart‘s school symbol is currently an image of Stuart waving the Confederate flag atop a horse. Moore and Cohen’s petition cites the tragic shooting of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina as an impetus for change.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Moore said, “We name our buildings, monuments and parks after exalted and heroic individuals as a way to honor them, and inspire ourselves to do better and reach for more in our own lives. It is reprehensible to me that in this day and age a school should carry and celebrate the name of a person who fought for the enslavement of other human beings. I think the students of this school deserve better than that moniker.”
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