Tyler athlete speaks out against Robert E. Lee High School name

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The demand to rename Robert E. Lee High School has resurfaced following the death of George Floyd and nationwide protests against police brutality and systematic racism.

A cross country runner, Trude Lamb, says she is refusing to wear the athletic jersey associated with the school’s name.

“Me and my people would not be doing the things we’re doing right now. Like running for the school, or like doing anything. Cause we will be seen as… not human,” she said.

Trude was adopted from Ghana back in 2014 and is now taking a stand and voicing her opinion.

Her stance on the name change sparked the creation of two social media pages on Instagram and Facebook called We Won’t Wear The Name.

Trude’s mother, Laura Owens, says she is frustrated with some of the social media backlash her daughter has received.

“Some of the comments have been ‘I bet she being put up to this. I bet she’s being paid,’ things like that. A small percentage have been encouraging and affirming, especially some from her teachers from Robert E. Lee they’re amazing,” Owens said.

But Trude isn’t the only athlete who has taken this position. Haftu Knight, an Ethiopian immigrant and 2019 Tyler Lee graduate, is standing by her side.

“Trude is one of the best athletes at Tyler Lee right now. I hope she knows that we are here with her. We are going to move forward with her and we’re not going to stop here. We’re not going to stop until the name is changed,” he said.

Knight now runs cross country for the Texas Longhorns and was highly decorated during his time as a Red Raider, qualifying for the UIL State meet four times.

As the debate to change the name heats up again, two petitions have been created, one for keeping the name and the other to change it.

On Monday, Tyler ISD’s board allowed guests to voice their opinions at their meeting. Organizers of the protestor say they commend Trude’s decision.

“I feel like that’s a great way to try and bring awareness to it. Robert E. Lee has a bunch of black athletes. We have a whole bunch of black people in theatre and band. It hurts as an African American to go to a school named after someone who fought to own our people,” said Brandon Collins, class of 2019.

Regardless of the outcome, Trude says she plans to keep moving forward.

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