Denver Mayor Hancock wants to rename landmarks, public spaces affiliated with racist history

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock addresses an audience of hundreds during a memorial service for George Floyd held at Civic Center Park’s amphitheater on June 4, 2020. (Alayna Alvarez, Colorado Politics)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced on Friday that he has tasked an advisory group to identify, with the community’s help, any city property named for individuals associated with racism.

The advisory board of the Agency of Human Rights and Community Partnerships, an agency created in 1948 out of a need to address racial tensions in Denver, will work with residents and neighborhood organizations to identify locations, including buildings and parks, for potential renaming.

The board, who oversees 10 offices and 10 commissions, also will consult with the State Historian’s Council for help with fact-checking before recommendations are put forward.

“Our public spaces belong to everyone, and everyone should feel respected in these places,” Hancock said in a statement Friday. “Hearing from our community at this pivotal time in our history will ensure that our city’s parks, spaces and places represent our values and the equity and diversity of our city.”

Current board members are as followed:

  • Pam Bisceglia, Denver Commission for People with Disabilities
  • Will Chan, Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission
  • Indya Clark, Denver Women’s Commission
  • Chris Conner, At-Large (Chair)
  • Magen Dodge, Denver Women’s Commission
  • Genene Duran, Denver African American Commission
  • Dana Juniel, Denver LGBTQ Commission
  • Jeremy Matsen, Denver Strategic Partnerships Commission
  • Leslie Mongin, Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission
  • Roberto Montoya, At-Large
  • Tariana Navas, Denver Latino Commission
  • Damian Rosenberg, Denver Commission for People with Disabilities
  • Robert Schleper, Denver LGBTQ Commission
  • Jose Silva, Denver Latino Commission (Vice-Chair)
  • Jessica Skibo, Denver Women’s Commission
  • Tsehai Teklehaimanot, At-Large
  • Patrick Walton, Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission
  • Renaming recommendations can be submitted to Renaming@denvergov.org for the advisory board to review.

    Finding a new name for Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood — named after Benjamin F. Stapleton, a 20th century Denver mayor who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan — is also in the works but will be carried out through a separate process.

    “The current conversation regarding racism and social injustice has increased awareness and education within our community,” the Master Community Association for the Stapleton neighborhood wrote on its website. “It has become more clear that continuing with the current name is hurtful to many residents.”

    Hancock has asked the city’s Community Planning and Development Department to wash away references to “Stapleton” in the city’s public GIS maps, as well as all adopted city plans and codes.

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