Harv Hilowitz, of Stone Ridge NY, began a two-year odyssey to rid his town of an overtly racist image that was on a major road for over thirty years. The image was on public property, on a field set aside for children. It was the mascot of the “Indian Valley Little League” in Kerhonkson, NY.
In 2017, Hilowitz decided to approach this Little League organization in a spirit of neighborliness, to see if the mascot, logo, and associated imagery could be amicably changed.
Hilowitz attended a board meeting to discuss the issue and left the meeting feeling hopeful. However, at a followup meeting the board voted unanimously to keep the sign and symbol.
Hilowitz continued his fight into the next sports season but was told the board would not revisit the issue. Instead he went to the NY State Human Rights Commission and, more successfully, the Ulster County Human Rights Commission, where he was again invited to a board meeting. The commission then sent a letter to the Indian Valley Little League, but it would take Little League International changing its rule book to make a difference.
In January 2019, after a two year effort, and with the help of the National Congress of American Indians, Hilowitz was informed that Little League International had decided to enact a new official policy in its 2019 Rulebook: “Little League (Int’l) prohibits the use of team names, mascots, nicknames or logos that are racially insensitive, derogatory or discriminatory in nature. Little League (Int’l) requires all chartered local league programs, volunteers, as well as regular employees, to comply with the policy outlined above. Disciplinary action to address violations of the policy outlined above will be determined in the sole discretion of either the Charter Committee or Little League management, as applicable.” See https://www.littleleague.org/playing-rules/rulebook-updates/