LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Confederate symbols, including UNLV’s mascot, “Hey Reb!” have been and are being removed across the country because of protests and calls to end systemic racism.
8 News Now caught up with assistant professor Javon Johnson — the Director Of African-American Studies At UNLV — who says one of the important things to remember is the ways in which young activists have pushed the needle in this country in terms of conversations
Johnson says we think a lot about law-making and policy, but do not always talk enough about the work on the ground that people are doing — the work that is forcing lawmakers to have conversations about change and reform.
He says what is happening now represents a turn in history.
“The long, robust history and the amount of people who have fought against this, equally important what must be said here, this moment, whatever happens in this moment, was made possible because of those moments before,” Johnson said. “It is one thing to remove a statue, another to remove policies, laws, that govern and maintain racism as a practice in this country. That is going to be a long fight. That is the beginning, only one part, albeit a small but necessary part.”
As for UNLV’s mascot, Johnson says dating back to the 1970’s, African American and Native American students were some of the first groups to push to remove “Beauregard” and the rebel name, which at that time, they said had clear confederate ties.
Johnson says it is important to note the administration listened this time, whereas they did not in the past.