What goes around comes around.
On Tuesday, the Waukegan (Ill.) Board of Education met to discuss the vital task of renaming two middle schools — one currently named for Thomas Jefferson Middle, the other for Daniel Webster. The city’s schools remain closed, mind you, but first things first. And the first thing is to find a noteworthy and deserving individual whose name one of the schools will carry.
Two names that were floated at the meeting were those of Mr. and/or Mrs. Barack Obama. The choice seemed simple. Both are locals really, Obama by choice and Michelle by birth.
But not everyone in the local Latinx community was having it. “I will not be part of renaming a school after someone who did not and does not represent the undocumented community,” school board member Edgar Castellanos is quoted as saying. Castellanos was brought to the U.S. as an illegal alien when he was a child.
Waukegan activist Julie Contreras, who works with a group that runs shelters for illegal children at the U.S./Mexico border, agrees that the Obamas should be “canceled” from consideration for the honor. She told reporters:
From the time Barack Obama became President until 2017 when he left, he today is still the highest ranking president with deportations in our nation. We feel that Barack Obama did disservice to us. He denied us, and he didn’t stop the deportations, the way he promised. If you’re removing the name of Thomas Jefferson — one oppressor — the name of Obama is another oppressor and our families do not want to see that name.