A street in Kansas City, Missouri has been in a heated debate over a street sign. Missouri is the only state in the country without a street named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That changed in January when activists pushed to have the Paseo renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Last night, voters voted to change the sign back to Paseo.
The Associated Press reports, “Unofficial results showed the proposal to remove King’s name received nearly 70% of the vote, with just over 30% voting to retain King’s name.” There were complaints on how the street sign was changed — without a vote from the people.
However, in January, Vernon Howard Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City explained, “We have overcome a borderline regressive electoral body that almost didn’t do this, but we thank God for the progressive leaders on this council that rose up today and are a reflection of what one Kansas City can look like.”
The protests were coming from a “mostly white group” called “Save the Paseo.” Bizareely, they protested at a Black church. The Associated Press reports they “staged a silent protest at a get-out-the-vote rally at a Black church for people wanting to keep the King name. They walked into the Paseo Baptist Church and stood along its two aisles. The protesters stood silently and did not react to several speakers that accused them of being disrespectful in a church but they also refused requests from preachers to sit down.”
See the clip below:
Tim Smith, who organized the protest at the church said they came so the leaders could call them a “to our faces.” He also added, “If tonight, someone wants to characterize what we did as hostile, violent, or uncivil, it’s a mischaracterization of what happened. We didn’t say anything, we didn’t do anything, we just stood.”
The boulevard is about 10 miles long in the city’s mostly Black area. How sad that a street name, which the “mostly white group” will probably never see is the battle they want to fight.
Nonetheless, they got their wish. Dr. King’s name will be removed.