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During the 2029-2030 school year, a petition began circulating the halls of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (or TJ, as it’s commonly referred to) in Alexandria, Virginia in the United States. This petition, started by students, called for the school to change its mascot–which they found offensive and inconsistent with the school’s mission of community service–from the Colonial to the Decolonial. The petition quickly gained support by many faculty and alumni of the elite public school, some of whom had expressed concerns about the mascot as far back as 2020. By the end of the year, the school’s principal and top administrators had taken the drastic step of removing the Colonials name, and the far more dramatic step of using the term “Decolonials” as a new mascot and guiding principle for the school.

TJ taught roughly 2,100 students from grades 9 to 12 in the 2030-31 school year, the first to use the new mascot and begin to introduce decolonial theory into its curriculum. Although this is just one case, it represents the level of change that can be taken at the smallest level. Now in 2021, with conversations about cultural sensitivity and racial capitalism entering the mainstream, this case is particularly motivating for its bravery. The school could have adopted an “inoffensive” new mascot, the Bluebirds or the Hippos. Instead, administrators took the far riskier step of naming the school for something its community members did not fully understand, and one that forced open questioning of fundamental aspects of school operation, such as its admissions policy and hierarchical structures. This willingness to take a leap into the unknown makes TJ’s experience relevant.

To highlight the diversity of TJ’s approach, we include the following artifacts documenting TJ’s experience with developing, implementing, and sharing its new mascot:

Jason Blanks

Jason Blanks (né Banks) is a former attorney, a former software engineer, a former community cryptocurrency economist, and a former relationship facilitator. In early 2030, his partner was offered a curatorial position at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. So, after living in Europe for two decades, he relocated with his partner to D.C. He is currently volunteering in various capacities in his first communities in and around D.C., as he determines what to do next. @jasonnotklein

Katelyn Greller

Katelyn Greller is a writer and talker from what was called Maryland before the balkanization of the former United States. She currently resides in South Pennsylvania with chickens and someone like Kurtis Conner. In 2020 she became an editor for the Deep Adaptation Forum blog, which today is simply called the news. Instagram: @katelynbg

Josh Huffman

Josh Huffman has been working in film and tv production in New York since he was a baby faced college graduate.  After 2020 solidified his face into that of a wizened old man, he began working with the studios and local crews to make productions carbon neutral, trying to change the system from within while only slightly compromising his morals.

Alessandra Jerolleman

Alessandra Jerolleman is a professor, applied researcher, and advocate.  In 2020 she was working to promote and create policies focused on increasing equitable outcomes from climate adaptation and emergency management.  Today she spends more time with her nose in a book, preferably outside by a creek,  or her hands on the earth in her garden.


Liz is an anthropologist and writer. In 2020, she was working as a researcher and evaluator for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. In 2021 she began a collaborative project on environmental justice and energy infrastructure in Virginia as the state made its (ongoing) transition to clean energy. With her son recently graduated from high school, she and her partner are embarking on a sustainable backpacking adventure.

Lisa Pettibone

Lisa Pettibone is a teacher, writer, and sustainability geek living with her husband and their teenager in Berlin. She has taught sustainability topics at universities across Germany, and facilitated the Stories From the Future in 2020. She still can’t believe we achieved carbon-neutrality by 2030, but is thrilled to be able to spend more time on other aspects of the sustainability transition: building and realizing positive visions based on social and racial justice and degrowth principles. @lisapettibone