The Madison School Board on Monday will reconsider naming a school after Vang Pao, who was charged in California this month with conspiring to violently overthrow the government of Laos...Well, now, there's a middle school just itching for a name change.
Vang Pao is revered by ethnic Hmong both for his leadership during the CIA-backed "secret war" aiding U.S. troops in the Vietnam War and for his role in helping Hmong refugees settle in the United States....
"That is the person we feel best represents us, regardless of the allegations. And you're telling us that wasn't good enough," Peng Her, a Hmong businessman and cultural educator told the Communities United group. "You're treating us like little kids."...
"It seems to me you're telling the Hmong community who they can and can't select," said Earnestine Moss, chair of Communities United. "If you're going to support them, support them even if they pick Vang Pao."
Claire Lovell-Lepak also couldn't support action dictating to Hmong the people they should honor.
"Anyone who knows anything about the civil rights movement knows that great men can be arrested, while people who do despicable things, like own slaves, are honored," she said. "We should not hold the Hmong to a different standard."
Among Madison's schools is Thomas Jefferson Middle School, named for the U.S. president who also was a slaveholder.
June 13, 2007
You'd think it would be easy to see that you shouldn't name a school after a man who is under federal indictment.
But you would be wrong.... here in Madison: