When it comes to changing school names and removing statues with Confederate ties, people tend to get emotional. SMU’s Community Conversation hopes to take emotion out of the decision-making process and present the facts behind the Confederate school names.

The event features distinguished SMU professors from the History, Ethnic Studies and Humanities departments who will make short presentations and answer questions from the community.

The panel was organized by Rachel Ball-Phillips, a South Asian History and Indian Studies professor whose daughter goes to Stonewall Jackson Elementary. Community members and parents approached Ball-Phillips to organize the event.

Panelists will present evidence, photographs and historical documents about Dallas’ Confederate school names and how they came to be. “They will walk through many of the things we know about but haven’t put together,” Ball-Phillips says. “We want to put the puzzle pieces together to understand what is happening now.”

Ball-Phillips, who has spoken at a Dallas ISD board meeting about the issue, will not be a part of the panel, which isn’t officially taking a position on the school names. “When people are sick, they go to a medical doctor. In the middle of historical controversy, it makes sense to tap into a historian,” she says.

“The goal is for people to walk away with historical knowledge and context to make naming decisions. It serves children better and serves the community better.”

The event is slated Monday, Oct. 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Dallas Hall in McCord Auditorium at SMU. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP before the event. Reserve your spot and learn more here.

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