Change the Mascot Campaign Releases New Ad in MN in Advance of Washington – Vikings Game

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New Ad Urges Opponents of D.C. NFL Team’s R-word Name to Join November 2 Protest at Washington-Minnesota NFL Game.

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This week, on the sidelines of the Vikings-Washington NFL game, Minnesota takes center stage on the issue of D.C.’s racist mascot.

When the Washington NFL team heads to Minneapolis this weekend to take on the Minnesota Vikings, they are also expected to face powerful protests from a diverse coalition rallying in opposition to the team’s use of a dictionary-defined slur as its name. Today, the Change the Mascot campaign released a corresponding radio ad, airing on Minneapolis/St. Paul’s KFAN-FM 100.3 today through Sunday, encouraging local activists to oppose the mascot and join the November 2 protest.

The R-word protest will be held 10 a.m. – Noon at the south side of TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota. Attendees will include a wide cross section of Minnesotans including student activists, Native Americans, Members of Congress including Minnesota’s Betty McCollum, national representatives of the Change the Mascot campaign, and concerned citizens from diverse ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. Additional game-day rally events include marches, gatherings with drums and musical players and post-rally entertainment.

The state of Minnesota has played a key role in the national grassroots movement to change the team’s name. Congresswoman McCollum has been a champion of the campaign from its very beginning, appearing at a recent Change the Mascot press conference on Capitol Hill last month and a 2014 symposium in Washington, D.C. Last year, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak each spoke out in support of a name change for the team. The city councils of both Minneapolis and St. Paul also sent letters to the NFL expressing their strong disapproval of the team’s name.

“The voices of opposition are getting louder. And this week, on the sidelines of the Vikings-Washington NFL game, Minnesota takes center stage on the issue of D.C.’s racist mascot,” the ad states. “Demand that the team stop denigrating Native Americans. Show your support. Oppose racism... Join us and stand on the right side of history.”

The grassroots Change the Mascot campaign, led by the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, works to educate the public about the damaging use of the R-word on Native Americans. The group has reshaped the debate surrounding the Washington team’s name and brought the issue to the forefront of social consciousness over the past year. Since its launch, Change the Mascot’s civil and human rights movement has garnered support from a diverse coalition of prominent advocates including Member of Congress from both sides of the aisle, Native American tribes, sports icons, top journalists and news publications, civil rights organizations and religious leaders.

Audio of the radio ad can be found on the Change the Mascot website at: http://www.changethemascot.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ChangetheMascotAdforNov2rally.mp3

Full text of the ad:

“The voices of opposition are getting louder. And this week, on the sidelines of the Vikings-Washington NFL game, Minnesota takes center stage on the issue of D.C.’s racist mascot.

The R-word is a term defined by the dictionary as a derogatory slur against Native Americans.

Student activists, tribal leaders, Members of Congress including Minnesota’s Betty McCollum, national representatives of the Change the Mascot campaign, and concerned citizens from diverse ethnic, religious and political backgrounds will come together to rally together against the disparaging name.

From our local city councils demanding a change to strong statements from Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota has already played a critical role in this important national civil rights issue.

Demand that the team stop denigrating Native Americans. Show your support. Oppose racism.

Join the protest, which will assemble at 10 a.m. at the University of Minnesota. Join us and stand on the right side of history. Learn more at changethemascot.org.”

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Joel Barkin
Oneida Indian Nation
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