Another Southern state has agreed to catch up with the times and stop celebrating people who went to war just to keep Black people in chains.
The city council of Hollywood, Fl. voted 5-2 to change the names of three streets named after Confederate leaders which just-so-happen to run through predominantly Black neighborhoods. Per usual in these instances, members of the public are outraged and are claiming it’s more about an infringement on their rights than the condemnation of their casual racism.
The Miami Herald reports that the council voted to change the names of Forrest, Lee and Hood streets without following the typical procedure of taking a poll of local residents to see where they stand on the issue. Forrest, by the way, is credited with being a forefather of the Ku Klux Klan.
“What message are we sending to the rest of our residents: If you put enough pressure on city hall, then this will happen,’’ said commissioner Peter Hernandez, who suggested commissioners vote later to change the streets to numbered streets.
Some residents criticized for council for not being willing to compromise and take an option that would’ve ideally worked for everyone. This plan would’ve included giving these street two names – including the old, raggedy, racist ones – to help people adjust to the new ones. But why should people be forced to accommodate racism?
Fortunately, some residents understand that, if left to its own devices, the city would’ve likely voted to keep these street names in place and continue their stance of glorifying some of the most vocal racists in U.S. history.
“I have heard people claiming that if the street names change, then ambulances will get lost and that is starting to scare people,” said Valnera, a Hollywood resident. “If you look at history, I bet if you put women’s rights to a vote it would have never passed – where would we be today? Sometimes it is not about the majority, but it is about doing what is right.”
Residents had been asking for the change for more than a decade, so the decision to do so is long-coming.
“It is time to change the names and the time is now. Hollywood has a proud history as a multicultural and non-discriminatory city and we the commission have an obligation to ensure that legacy to our residents in a consistent and timely manner,” said Commissioner Debra Case. “We must do the right thing. And we must do it now. In conclusion, I support the street name change of Forrest, Lee and Hood.”
Photo courtesy WSVN7 News