Stop Naming Buildings after People

Nancy Friedman
4 min readFeb 4, 2021

In late January, the School Names Advisory Committee of San Francisco’s Board of Education voted six to one to rename 44 of the district’s 121 schools, with the goal of ridding the public sphere of any names that might call to mind racism or sexism. Among the names targeted for replacement: George Washington (owned slaves), Abraham Lincoln (encouraged settlement of the West; authorized mass execution of Sioux warriors), Robert Louis Stevenson (once used the word Japanee instead of Japanese in a poem), and U.S. Senator and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein (it’s complicated).

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Nancy Friedman

Writer, name developer, brand consultant, idea-ist, ex-journalist. @fritinancy on Mastodon, Instagram, Bluesky, Threads, and elsewhere.