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City Reaches Decision On Changing Confederate Street Signs, Residents Continue To Disagree

It’s virtually impossible to make all residents in a community happy, and sometimes compromise is needed. When compromise is out the window, it’s time for the town council to get involved and hold a hearing on the matter. That situation has been playing out in Hollywood, Florida, as there has been a tremendous debate in the community about some street signs.

As the Miami Herald shares, the three street signs in question are named after Confederate generals. The signs are right in the middle of an African-American neighborhood, and one of the generals on the sign is noted as the father of the Ku Klux Klan. The rising backlash against Confederate symbols has brought this debate to a boil, and the town council has weighed in.

By a vote of 5-2, the Hollywood City Commission has agreed to waive its policy of conducting a poll of residents affected by the name change. The official vote on the changing of the street signs will be held later this month, but it looks to be leaning in that direction.

Commissioner Peter Hernandez was one of those on the dissenting side.

“What message are we sending to the rest of our residents: If you put enough pressure on city hall, then this will happen,’’ he said.

Commissioner Debra Case sees things differently.

“It is time to change the names and the time is now. Hollywood has a proud history as a multicultural and non-discriminatory city and we the commission have an obligation to ensure that legacy to our residents in a consistent and timely manner,” she said. “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.”

Residents are also mixed on the message that it sends. Esther Pereira, a resident and a BlackLivesMatter activist, is taking the ruling as a positive.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating on Aug. 30 when we finally vote on the street names officially being changed,’’ she said.

Hollywood resident Cynthia Baker is singing from a different hymn book.

“You were elected to serve the public, not the special interest groups,” she said. “If you pass this, where will it end?”

There has been increasing backlash across the country against honoring Confederate figures with symbols and monuments, and you can be certain that this won’t be the last battle over the matter. While some residents simply view it as an acknowledgement of history and pay it no mind, there are others that take it as a matter of clear disrespect, due to the racial undertones that Confederate regalia inspires. The dissenting opinions that are playing out in this Florida community are no different than the debates that have broken out in other areas.

It would certainly be refreshing to see all of these debates resolved simply and peacefully. Applying a little common sense and allowing cooler heads to prevail just might result in a solution that works for everybody and puts the matter to rest once and for all.

Source: Miami Herald
Photo: Miami Herald Screenshot

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