Local Residents Demand that Brea Olinda School Board Rename Fanning and Shut the Door on the Sundown Legacy

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.



February 26th, 2018

Contact: Wendy Dotan

949-690-6541  wdotan@aol.com


BREA, CA—On February 26th, 2018, Brea parents, teachers, and local residents will pack the Brea Olinda Unified School Board meeting to demand that the board rename William E. Fanning Elementary School. Fanning was a teacher, principal, and superintendent of Brea schools from 1914 to 1942—as well as a documented Ku Klux Klan member. During his tenure, Brea was a sundown town—African Americans had to leave the city by 6 pm, restrictive covenants denied African Americans and Asian Americans the right to live in Brea, Mexican Americans were treated as second-class citizens, and at no time did Fanning ever speak out against these injustices.

“We’ve been attending Board meetings and corresponding with the superintendent and Board members for five months, but the Board has barely moved on this issue,” says Pat Davis, who is a Brea homeowner and mother whose son attended Fanning Elementary. “Enough silence, the community wants the superintendent to take a stronger leadership role, we want the Board to take a vote on this issue, and we want the community to find a name that best reflects the changing population of Brea,” she concludes.

In August, the Committee to Rename Fanning, which has since changed its name to the OC Truth and Reconciliation Project, started an online petition to change the name of Fanning. Since then, the petition has garnered almost 1,000 signers and can be viewed here.

The Board meeting will take place on Monday, February 26th, 2018 at 6:30 pm. The OC Truth And Reconciliation Project will hold a press conference at 6:15 pm to outline their demands. The Board meeting will take place in the city council chambers at the Brea Civic and Cultural Center, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, CA 92821. Parents, teachers, students and residents of the local area will continue organizing until the Brea School Board takes action on this issue.

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