Rename Bay Area Park To Honor Thurgood Marshall

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Rename Bay Area Park To Honor Thurgood Marshall

This petition made change with 1,001 supporters!

Citizens For Historical Equity started this petition to East Bay Regional Park District

HISTORY: In the segregated military of World War II, African-Americans at Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, were assigned to load dangerous explosive munitions onto cargo vessels without proper training and under unsafe working conditions. On July 17, 1944, a deadly explosion occurred that killed 320 sailors and civilians, the majority of whom were African-Americans. Following the explosion, hundreds of the surviving African-American servicemen refused to load munitions until there were safer working conditions. The Navy labeled this an act of mutiny – punishable by death by firing squad – and the majority of the servicemen reluctantly returned to duty. Fifty men, known as the Port Chicago 50, held out in protest and were found guilty of mutiny and sentenced to 12-15 years of incarceration and hard labor. The Chief Counsel for the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall, formed an appeal campaign to free the Port Chicago 50. His national advocacy work not only freed the Port Chicago 50, but swayed public opinion and directly contributed to the desegregation of the United States Armed Forces.

TODAY: The land at Port Chicago, situated in the San Francisco Bay Area, was recently conveyed to the East Bay Regional Park District, who plan to name the park “Chupcan Territory Regional Park” to honor the Native People of the land. African-Americans have supported the rights of Native Peoples for centuries and we agree that a park should be named for the Chupcan People, however, the Park District has many park sites on Chupcan territory they could rename to honor them without diminishing our African-American history at Concord park.

The names on our streets, bridges, and parks reflect our values as a society and African-Americans have been historically underrepresented in the naming of our national monuments. As African-Americans, we are aware that just because a park is public, that doesn’t mean we will always feel safe or welcome. There are currently no regional parks named after African-Americans in Contra Costa County and, as a public agency, the Park District has a responsibility to our community to reflect our values in their naming practices. We strongly support renaming parklands to honor both Native Peoples and African-Americans. Towards that end, we recommend renaming Concord park to "Thurgood Marshall Regional Park" to honor the life and work of the Supreme Court Justice who fought for the civil rights of both Native and African-Americans. To honor our Native brothers and sisters, we propose renaming one or more neighboring parks to "Chupcan Territories Regional Park."

If you would like to support our request, please sign our petition to ensure future generations will know of the incredible accomplishments and contributions of Native Peoples and African-Americans to our nation. 

The meeting discussing the Concord park naming selection will be held on Thursday, September 3, 2020 12:30 p.m PST. If you would like to make a live public comment during the meeting, this option is available through the virtual meeting platform: https://zoom.us/j/91304379946

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This petition made change with 1,001 supporters!