On August 6th, 2021 Peoria and Peoria Public Schools made history by being the first school district to honor Dr. C.T. Vivian with a school named in his honor.
This was an important step toward social equality and justice for all individuals. I believe it is important to note that this isn’t an example of removing names to cancel anyone’s “culture”. However, schools named after slave owners, oppressors, white supremacists, and confederate leaders are symbols of violence for minorities and doesn’t enhance the curricula, or create a positive school culture around the ideals of namesakes.
It was an honor to be a part of such a historic moment for our school district. My fellow board members Douglas Shaw, Martha Ross, Lynne Costic, Dr. Anne Reinking, and Chase Klaus were instrumental in getting this accomplished. Dr. C.T. Vivian’s dedication to social justice reforms and human rights changed the course of our nation. It also has roots right here in Peoria, IL. It was here in Peoria, where Dr. C.T. Vivian completed his first act of civil disobedience in 1947, when he participated in his first sit-in that successfully integrated Barton’s Cafeteria. This social action started a lifelong dedication to tear down issues of hate, racism, and segregation across the United States. Also, in his commitment to “develop future leaders and promote brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities,” Dr. C.T. Vivian embodied the mission of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which he was a proud member of.
I can 100% say that I would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for men and women like Dr. C.T. Vivian, for creating a roadmap for people that look like me. In conclusion, Dr. C.T. Vivian’s legacy will continue to impact our nation and future generations. The marathon of social justice will continue.