Officials with the city of Tempe will consider changing the name of several city parks and streets named for individuals associated with the Ku Klux Klan.
According to research from Tempe History Museum staff and records from the Arizona Historical Society and Phoenix Public Library, multiple locations in the city are named after members who belonged to the hate group.
“Hudson Drive, Hudson Lane, Laird Street and Hudson, Harelson and Redden parks bear the names of now-deceased community leaders who were recently discovered to have been dues-paying members of the KKK’s Butte Chapter No. 3 in the Tempe area. Tempe’s research was conducted by Tempe History Museum staff using records from the Arizona Historical Society and Phoenix Public Library,” the release from the city of Tempe stated.
City Manager Andrew Ching will establish an ad hoc advisory committee in order to incorporate several members of community organizations, including members of the Tempe Elementary School District which have school names connected to the issue.
“Bringing this issue forward for community awareness and consideration is the right thing to do,” Ching said. “Together we can acknowledge the past and make purposeful decisions that reflect our community values of equality and anti-discrimination.”
In the coming days, the city pledged to launch a website that will discuss the renaming process and ask for input from residents.
“The city is sensitive to the descendants of the identified people and is reaching out to the family members who have city-owned locations named for their ancestors. Communication with family members will continue so they feel invited to be part of the conversations. The city is committed to ensuring that all dialogue on this important topic is done in safe and respectful ways,” the press release continued.
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