DENVER (CBS4) – Property owners in the Stapleton neighborhood can start voting Wednesday on whether to change the name of their development in governing documents, a major step toward getting the controversial name removed from the city.
“Symbols matter and people’s opinions matter,” said Lisa Abuogi of the Brave Coalition. “You know when people feel harmed by something, we should stand up as a community and say we don’t like that.”
She co-founded the organization with other mothers living in Stapleton after someone tagged hateful graffiti on the Isabella Bird Community School in 2016. Their goal is to make the community more inclusive and the coalition has taken the position that the name Stapleton should be changed.
“We want people to feel included in the community, everybody does, and we love our community,” Abuogi said. “That’s why we live here and that’s why we fight for it and so we support changing the name.”
Home and business owners who are members of the Master Community Association, or MCA Stapleton, will get a ballot on Wednesday. They will have more than a month to return their vote on multiple issues related to the potential name change.
Rename St*pleton For All has lead the campaign for a new neighborhood name for a few years. But their members admit this view has lived in Stapleton for decades. They believe they are just the latest attempt to move the development in a new direction. They worry that this vote will not fully reflect all of the people living in Stapleton. They say the MCA membership only covers property owners who are primarily white. The group says this vote will not proportionately include communities of color and completely shut out renters. But they still support the effort as step in the right direction.
“Those who are silent are complicit,” said Kim Brewer, the treasurer for Rename. “I think people are really starting to feel that and understand that, and understand I don’t want to be a part of saying that this is okay.”
Brewer says there are still many people who do not know about the vote before the neighborhood. She also believes that those planning to vote against the name change are not necessarily opposed to the idea, they just do not believe it is needed.
The vote would direct the MCA to remove the name from its governing documents and then start a process to determine what the new name should be for the neighborhood.
Ballots will be due toward the end of July and then the results should become public by August.
For the Brave Coalition, the move to no longer remain neutral and endorse this change lines up with their mission. It is a challenge they see facing the entire state.
“Hate crimes and, you know, issues are growing in our community,” Abuogi said. “All throughout Colorado so it’s time that we have some of those difficult conversations.”