CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Nearly 100 people participated in a virtual Zoom forum Thursday night about the future of Cambridge Central School District’s “Indians” mascot.
The forum, which ran for two hours, outlined the process of the issue moving forward, and how to facilitate difficult conversations with others in the community.
“We want to fight hard to raise each other’s voices up and courageously face the questions you have to answer, and the impacts on the community, and look forward to working together to try to find the solutions,” said Duke Fisher, a trainer at Bridges.
It comes after the school board was asked by petitioners to retire its Native American imagery last year.
The board recently hired Bridges to help facilitate conversations through talking circles, which will begin next month.
“The idea is that we want to try to use the circles to manifest all the voices and keep managing it as we go along,” Fisher said.
As part of their work, Bridges has also held confidential interviews, which will help develop the next steps moving forward.
The interviews, along with the community circles, will help the board makes its final decision.
“The product of the circles are a list of harms and a list of needs and suggestions to the board that the circles think that they want to offer in to their decision making process. Those decisions will be handed to the Board of Education, we’re available to support them in their conversations as well,” says Fisher.
The conversation about the mascot’s future has been a divisive one, as the school board hopes the forum and the process can help move the community forward.
In a statement, Board of Education President Neil Gifford said, “It is our hope that working with Bridges will ensure that all voices are heard and that we emerge from this conversation as a cohesive community once again.”