“The struggle for the rights of workers is still very much alive,” said board member Emily Weisberg. “And I think that she serves as a phenomenal example as an educator who found ways to educate outside the classroom, which is by and large what we want our students to be able to do — to take the knowledge outside of the classroom and apply it to their lives beyond the doors of a school.”
Weisberg added that Huerta’s rallying cry resonated with her and is one that is “so powerful for our students, that you can do things. One person can effect enormous change.”
Armond Aghakhanian said he worked with Huerta more than a decade ago and said it was important to name the school after someone “who is a champion of human rights here from California.”
The renaming of the school ties in with the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. David Starr Jordan — the founding president of Stanford University — was a controversial academic who advocated in favor of eugenics, a movement that set out to improve the genetic composition of humankind by way of selective breeding and is now widely viewed as racist.
Jordan Principal Jennifer Meglemre said she has been inundated with messages from former students and current parents and staff members about the name change.
“Everyone is so excited,” she told the Leader on Friday. “This not only is a new name but a new direction as a school and as a district. A lot of work has gone into this. We have a parent group around diversity, equity and inclusion, and we feel this is one of the big pieces toward being a more equitable and inclusive district.”
A picture of David Starr Jordan will be replaced with imagery promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as a mural of Huerta, a figure who best represents the diversity of the middle school.
“We don’t have a majority of any one group at our school,” said Meglemre. “Our largest subgroup is the Latinx. They will be able to say, ‘Finally, someone recognizes me.’”