The Story Behind the N.A.M.E.
March 21, 2019
Since 1990, the National Association for Multicultural Education has been working to promote and celebrate cultural pluralism within schools. They believe that multicultural education furthers equity and can make schools a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) works diligently to create these safe and inclusive spaces for students and educators. Starting in New Orleans, NAME is now a nationwide organization. In 2018, there were chapters in every area of the United States.
NAME’s mission is to advocate for educational equity and social justice. They hold onto their anti-discrimination policy very tightly. According to their website, “NAME is consciously and proactively inclusive of all areas of diversity including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sovereign tribal Nations status, ancestry, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, social class, socioeconomic status, marital status, language, disability, or immigration status.” When everyone is taken into account, groups, schools, and organizations have the ability to work together in a more cohesive way.
In the National Association for Multicultural Education logo, there are a few interesting symbols that are very important to note. The logo says “NAME” while also depicting a small bird and a red triangle. The symbolism behind the red triangle dates back to the Nazi Holocaust; the people that were forced into concentration camps and ghettos were required to wear a symbol to indicate the reason for being prosecuted. “Wrong Thinkers” were required to wear red triangles. According to the NAME website, they use this red triangle “to reaffirm our commitment to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, to be advocates and to be allies to all who work for social justice and equity.” The historical meaning behind this triangle goes to show how dedicated NAME is when it comes to creating a brighter future.
The small bird in the logo was inspired by the West African Akan people of Ghana. It is a Sankofa bird and the name translates to “go back and fetch it,” inspiring people to learn from the past. This lesson is especially relevant when taking social justice issues into account. If we do not want to repeat the horrific events caused by discrimination and prejudices, it is crucial to learn from history. Both of these symbols are important to understand when learning about NAME and their mission.
To ensure that the organization is successfully reaching local communities and continuing to improve, NAME holds annual conferences. NAME members from all over the U.S. are invited to learn, discuss, and expand. While at the conferences, attendees hear keynote speakers, see films specific to the conference theme, and have board meetings. Individual chapters normally hold their own meetings outside of the national conference. Chapters are able to focus on issues specific to their area, therefore improving their own communities. NAME can attribute their success as an organization to their diligently working and devoted members. Without these people, NAME would not be a socially progressive organization that leaves a positive impact on so many lives.
With a world that is still plagued by hatred and discrimination, there is an ever existing and severe lack of justice. Even with the growing understanding in the importance of equity and equality, there is still a need for more progressive work. That’s where organizations like NAME step in. The National Association for Multicultural Education makes schools safer, kinder, and more inclusive for everyone.