THERMAL, Calif. - The Coachella Valley high school mascot remains at the center of controversy. The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is urging the school district to drop the logo, calling it an example of gross stereotyping of Arabs and Arab-Americans. Some of the high school's most notable alumni spoke out about the issue. Coachella mayor Eduardo Garcia graduated from CVHS in 1995. "There's a long tradition in this community that has embraced Coachella Valley being the Arabs," said Garcia.
Congressman Raul Ruiz also graduated from the high school. He sent this statement: "I am proud to be an alumnus of CVHS and I am proud of the teachers and students who continue to make our school an excellent institution. I believe it's an appropriate time for this conversation to modernize the school's Arab mascot while honoring our desert roots and shared history with Arab Americans and their unique contribution to our community."
"Let's give it a little facelift, make it look better," said Andrews. "Make him happy, maybe that's what can be done."
The beginning of compromise that sits better with alumni than the idea of dropping the logo altogether, painting over murals and changing the mascot thousands call the source of their school pride. "There's too much history and a culture that's been established over the last 112 years of history at that high school, and it would be very sad to see," said Mayor Garcia.
The ADC continues to work with the school district to find a middle ground. In the meantime, Garcia says it creates an opportunity to field a broader discussion about diversity. "The understanding and learning about different cultures which then I think is the beginning of embracing the mascots that have been put in these regional high schools."