In Hollywood, FL, resting in a predominantly black and brown neighborhood, are three street names honoring Confederate generals. Most were able to sense the problematic nature of this reality, as the city’s commission voted to rename the streets Monday (July 3).
The streets are named after Generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was known as the “father of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Pastor Michael Anderson of New Jerusalem First Baptist Church shared: “It’s refreshing to see people rise up to their courage. That’s what leadership is about.”
In order to prevent any opposition to renaming the streets, the commission had to vote on two key measures that would make the change concrete and refrain from offending the Hollywood civilians.
The first measure, passing with a 5-2 result, eliminated polling the city’s residents. The argument for Commissioner Richard Blattner’s measure was that if the people of Hollywood voted against the street name changes, it would look like the Commission “could care less about what their community has to say” when they move forward with the plans. The second measure will incorporate dual-naming for two years so residents will be able to adjust to the eventual extermination of the names.
While one of the few opposing the name change, Cynthia Baker, claims the commission is serving the needs of “special interest groups” of the knowingly diverse community, Carlos Valnera likened the severity of the situation to that of women’s rights.
“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?” the resident began. “Sometimes it is not about the majority, but it is about doing what is right.”
Voting on the overall issue will occur on August 30.