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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Wants to Find, Rename Streets and Facilities Named for Confederate Soldiers

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 17, 2020—On June 15, the Montgomery County Council sent a letter to County Executive Marc Elrich and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson calling for a comprehensive review of street and public facility names inspired by the Confederacy and those that do not reflect the County’s core values of diversity and inclusivity. The letter, which was spearheaded by Councilmember Andrew Friedson and signed by all Councilmembers, points out that the names of streets, schools and facilities should not contradict the core values of the community in which they are situated.

“Facilities that are open to the public, that are paid for by the public, and that are owned by the public should reflect that public,” Councilmember Friedson said.

As the Council works to dismantle the structures that perpetuate racism, it also is working to identify the symbols that normalize and legitimate it. This comprehensive review would build on the Montgomery County Board of Education’s prior efforts to review the names of schools associated with systemic racism.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear County Executive Elrich and Chair Anderson,

We are at an inflection point in our country and in our county. The brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis represents not just a singular tragedy of one man, but another grotesque manifestation of generations of structural racism that permeate our society. Addressing institutional problems require institutional solutions, and we appreciate your shared efforts as we begin that critical work together in Montgomery County. But as we work to dismantle the structures that perpetuate racism, we must also target the symbols that normalize and legitimize it. The names of public streets and buildings are not merely a reminder of the past; they are a very clear indication of who and what we value today.

As stewards of Montgomery County’s public assets, we are calling on you to initiate a comprehensive review of all County owned and maintained street names and public facilities to determine all those named for Confederate soldiers or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County values. Following that review, we hereby request a public process to rename these county streets and facilities in a manner that more appropriately reflects the community to which they belong.

When we name a street or a building, we are not merely reflecting history. We are using our public funding and assets to bestow a high honor. These public tributes should appropriately reflect the entirety of our community and our values. This comprehensive review would build upon the efforts that the Board of Education has recently undertaken in reviewing the names of Montgomery County Public Schools facilities.

We cannot change the troubling aspects of our past, but we must confront it – honestly and openly. We cannot recreate history, but we can decide how accurately we reflect it, and who we choose to glorify from it. The names of our buildings and streets should reflect the people in and on them, not threaten and intimidate them. As a county with four of the ten most diverse cities in the country, our residents rightfully expect it; they deserve it; and they are demanding it.

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Release ID: 20-267
Media Contact: Cindy Gibson 240-777-7827