Earlier this week, the Hollywood City (FL) Commission voted to move forward with plans to change the names of streets, in the heart of African American majority neighborhood, named after Confederate generals.
The commission voted on two key measures. One measure will have the city waive its policy of conducting a poll of residents who would be affected by the name change in order to avoid any tensions. Commissioner Richard Blattner, who proposed the measure, noted that if the commission takes the poll and most people don’t want the street names changed but the city goes ahead with the changes anyway, it would look as if the commissioners were not taking residents’ opinions into consideration, reported The Miami Herald.
“It’s refreshing to see people rise up to their courage. That’s what leadership is about,’’ said Rev. Michael Anderson, pastor of New Jerusalem First Baptist Church in Hollywood.
The second measure, proposed by Vice Mayor Traci Callari, called for a dual-naming system for the streets over two years so that people could get used to the new names before the old names of “Lee,” “Forrest” and “Hood” completely disappear.
The streets are named after Generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was considered the father of the Ku Klux Klan.
The commission is scheduled to vote on the overall issue Aug. 30.
“I’m looking forward to celebrating on Aug. 30 when we finally vote on the street names officially being changed,” said Esther Pereira, a resident and a Black Lives Matter activist.
“It is time to change the names, and the time is now. Hollywood has a proud history as a multicultural and nondiscriminatory city, and we the commission have an obligation to ensure that legacy to our residents in a consistent and timely manner,” Commissioner Debra Case said Monday. “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.”
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)