On Monday evening, July 16th, the Fort Road Federation is holding a public meeting at Palace Rec Center from 6:00-8:00 PM. The Federation has received a grant from the St. Paul Foundation to have a professional facilitator hold a listening session regarding the Monroe Name Change.
This event is meant to be a chance to tell our stories and to listen to others’ stories about the school and the community. This is not a time to decide what the name of the school will or will not be. While this is not the official School Board public meeting, the facilitator will share a summary of the event with the School Board.
We need Monroe Alumni to attend this meeting. People will be grouped into smaller discussion groups. The proponents of the changing the name will be there in numbers and give their emotional appeal to change the name of the school.
We want to make a positive impression about keeping the Monroe name. I have attached some positive talking points you can use that night or you can share your own positive stories on how your Monroe experience shaped your life and accomplishments.
This is an excellent opportunity to make our case for keeping the Monroe Name in the community. If you have done nothing else except sign the petition, this is your chance to influence the process by attending this public meeting. Put it on your schedule for Monday night, July 16h, 6:00-8:00 PM at the Palace Rec Center, 781 Palace Avenue, St. Paul, 55102. Join your fellow Alumni for this important meeting.
Positive Talking Points to Complement Your Monroe Stories
Historical Support for Monroe School. We have a history in the Monroe West Seventh Street community of rising to the need. We were there in the 80’s when the Board tried to close the school. The Monroe name has strong roots in the West Seventh Street community. Without the intervention of the Monroe Alumni and West 7th Street community, Monroe would not have existed as a St. Paul school.
Volunteerism in the Monroe Community. For years, the Monroe community and Alumni have supported volunteer activities in the community. This past year, the group spent over $26,000 on Thanksgiving and Christmas items for 51 families in the community. As part of the Monroe tradition, the Monroe Alumni have a long history of supporting others less fortunate in the community.
The support for the Monroe name is not a racial issue. As graduates of Monroe, we never knew about the history of James Monroe. It was always just Monroe. It is just “Monroe “on the building name. Monroe has been a community school for thousands of graduates. It symbolizes a long tradition of beautiful memories. It has nothing to do with racism.
Focus on the Right Things. Recent studies have shown a significant achievement gap for students of color in the St. Paul school system. To focus energy on a name change as if this change will alter the achievement gap would be a meaningless step forward. Let us put our energy on the real problems.
Erasing history does nothing to improve the current situation. Americans can take a good history lesson from the Germans. The German would love to forget their history about killing six million Jews during World War II. Instead, each German student is required to take a history lesson about these events in their German history so that history does not repeat itself. When we rewrite history according to some new criteria, it is no longer there to teach us. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Respecting the Monroe West 7th traditions: We believe it is important to honor and respect all traditions and cultures: where is the respect and honor for the Monroe community? Our grandparents were immigrants from Bohemia, Italy, Germany, Ireland. West Seventh Street is a blue-collar community with very rich traditions. The Monroe name is a symbol of those traditions. We honor other cultures and traditions. Where is the respect and honoring of the Monroe traditions and the accomplishments of thousands of Monroe students?
Community Support for maintaining the Monroe name. The Monroe Alumni started a petition to maintain the Monroe name in the community. As of 6-10-18, there have been 600 signed petitions to keep the name. Politicians, a former St. Paul School principal and business leaders in the community, have signed the petition. Numerous community newspaper articles have appeared in local newspapers supporting the Monroe name. There is strong support for maintaining the Monroe Name.