JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — While community balloting on name changes has ended for five Duval County schools, only the first week of voting has wrapped up for the last four named after Confederate leaders or those responsible for killing or removing Native American populations.
Local activists in favor of the name changes say Jacksonville’s participation in the process, especially at Robert E. Lee High School has been steady.
However, they’d like to see more eligible young adults make their voices heard.
“I think it's going to take neighbors talking to neighbors and making a plan to come up here," Rhonda Stringfellow, Northside Coalition member said.
“We need young people especially to come out and vote because it's our time," Meredith O'Malley Johnson, Florida Rising member said. "It's our time, we shouldn't be hanging on to this ancestry. We're not erasing anything.“
Florida Rising has been holding frequent rallies with the Northside Coalition and Take Em Down Jax to make sure people are aware that community balloting is going on.
“We are here to stay and make history," Alexis Gaines, Florida Rising member said. "So, we want to make sure that the youth knows that we're standing behind them that this is what we're doing for them.“
Next week is the last chance for community members to vote at all four schools: Robert E. Lee High School, Andrew Jackson High School, Ribault High School and Ribault Middle School.
The ballots allow voters to make one of two choices: Change the name, or don't. If they choose to change, they can select an alternate name from a predetermined list.
Not everyone is eligible to vote. You must be a teacher, parent, student, alumni or community member living in the schools' attendance zones.
The polls are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until 6:30 for Lee High, through May 9.
Regardless of how the community votes, the Duval County School Board will ultimately make the final decision.