THERMAL (AP) — A Southern California high school has changed its nickname from the Arabs to the Mighty Arabs and has adopted a logo with a nobler image, school officials announced Wednesday.
The Coachella Valley Unified School District governing board unanimously adopted the changes in a closed-session meeting Tuesday night after months of pressure from Arab-American anti-discrimination groups.
“Dealing with the mascot issue has gone worldwide,” Superintendent Daryl Adams said, according to the Desert-Sun (http://desert.sn/1lUE3AK). “I’m glad to see that coming to an end.”
Officials at Coachella Valley High School consulted with Arab-American groups in getting rid of the scowling, hook-nosed image in the old logo and adopting the more stoic face in the new one.
Abed Ayuoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the group fully supports the new mascot and image.
“We passed it around to experts and community members,” Ayoub told the Desert-Sun. “We took our time to get the opinion of that logo, and it was overwhelmingly positive.”
The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region’s reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop.
The school had already abandoned the mascot costume that had imagery similar to the old logo, along with the belly dancing genie that appeared with him.
Opposition to the change had come mostly from the school’s alumni, but the president of the alumni association Rich Ramirez welcomed the move.
“All the alumni want to keep it as it was,” Ramirez said. “But I’ve written a lot of retorts saying, ‘It’s not up to us any longer in today’s society. If you offend one of 10, you’ve got to do something about that one.”