While the potential renaming of Columbus Park has so far garnered the most attention, several other efforts are also being discussed. Mayor Hancock has formed a committee to look at parks and buildings across the city who may be named after individuals who are now viewed negatively.
Rowena Alegria, Chief Storyteller for the City and Council of Denver, said they are working with the State Historian’s Council to conduct research. “Community will be engaged both in the recommendation of properties up for renaming and in the renaming of those that warrant it, which will require yet another round of research before new names are granted,” said Alegria.
That committee is headed up by Derek Okubo, Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships who said the committee is “Diverse and representative of the community.” Okubo said there is no end date planned for the committee and that it will be an ongoing process.
At the same time, Denver Public Schools is looking at a number of school names and mascots. North High School Principal Scott Wolf said his school is looking into changing mascots.
“Vikings have a violent history and we are at a time in our current history where we need to step back and look critically at everything,” said Wolf. “I have begun talking with the North Alumni Association president, Isaac Solano, about our current mascot. As we return to school in the fall, it is definitely something that the North community will need to discuss and collectively work to determine if Vikings are the best representation of who we are as a school community. I look forward to hearing feedback from the community as we work together to continue to have an inclusive and welcoming environment where everyone deeply knows that they belong at North.”
DPS Board of Education Director At-Large Tay Anderson and District 5 Director Brad Laurvick both said they are looking to school leadership and want to have a community conversation about the name. Anderson said he has thus far been focused on schools named after Jefferson and Washington due to their history of enslaving people, the South High School Rebels mascot, and a few others.
Governor Jared Polis has also formed a committee to look at names of natural landmarks, buildings, roads, etc statewide.