Rename Broward County

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Broward County is named after Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. Broward was the 19th Governor of Florida but he was also was a noted racist, segregationist and an arms smuggler. In 2017 his statue was removed from the Broward County Courthouse because of his reprehensible views on race. Let's finish the job and erase his name from the county altogether.

For more than 400 years this country has tolerated and even perpetuated racism. In light of the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others, citizens from around the country have decided that enough is enough. Broward county is a minority-majority county with many of its residents either hailing from or having roots in Latin America, the Caribbean, and various diverse regions around the globe. If many of the residents of Broward County knew the true history of its namesake, I'm sure that they would be horrified and ashamed.

One of Broward's other notable endeavors was the draining of the Everglades. He viewed the Everglades as useless swamp land and did not understand its importance to local wildlife, water flow and water quality in South Florida. In recent years various organizations, including the EPA and National Wildlife Federation, have advocated for restoring the Everglades to its previous state in order to remedy the damage that has been done to the environment as a result of his drainage programs.

One of the difficulties of changing the name of a County is re-branding. However, nearby Lake Worth changed the name of their city last year (2019) to Lake Worth Beach. That name change was made in order to attract more tourists and economic activity to the region. Surely, racial justice and equality are just as, if not more important than attracting more visitors and economic activity to the area. Any inconvenience that the name change would cause would be more than offset by the fact that residents would be assured that the current administration has a zero-tolerance policy for racism.

This desire for change is personal for me. The picture from this petition was taken in downtown Fort Lauderdale on the day that I proposed to my wife. As an African American man, I would love to be able to tell our future children that Fort Lauderdale is an area that does not tolerate racism, and is instead a shining example for the rest of the nation and the world to follow.

Hoping for change, praying for change, and marching for change are all good things, but at some point we must all be willing to take action. The time for action is now. Racism and segregation may have been reflective of the past but it certainly does not have to define Broward County's present and future. Let's rename Broward County for something that is more reflective of the area's Native American roots or of the current vibrant and diverse community that Broward County has become.