Rename Johnston Street in Los Angeles to Honor Civil Rights
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Given the unspeakable horror that has occurred over the past few days, from the largest publicly and overtly white supremacist rally in a generation in Charlottesville, to the terrorist act which one of the white supremacists committed, killing one and injuring 19, to the moral failure of our President in his late-coming and weak condemnation of the rally and its perpetrators, it's easy to feel hopeless and give up on action. It's also easy for those of us in a "blue state" like California to think that we're safe, lucky, and that this isn't our problem. But the forces which gave rise to the rally in Charlottesville permeate all aspects of American life, whether overtly or covertly, whether in Virginia or in California.
Indeed, Los Angeles currently is home to the neighborhood of Lincoln Heights, the very neighborhood name of which was given to counteract the area's history as a hotbed of pro-Confederacy sentiment during the Civil War. Within Lincoln Heights, there remains a street named after Albert Sidney Johnston, a General of the Confederate Army considered to be the most prominent officer killed throughout the entire Civil War. Ironically, this neighborhood was also one of many which were "redlined" by banks to restrict non-white residents from moving out into other areas of LA, and thus Lincoln Heights was heavily populated by immigrants and people of color.
It is time to no longer honor Johnston Street, a symbol of white supremacy, and instead to rename the street to honor one of countless civil rights heroes who lack a street name in Los Angeles, such as Edison Uno who was born in LA and later advocated against Japanese internment, or Betty Hill who helped fight against Jim Crow in Los Angeles. Just as we advocate for pro-Confederate symbols to be removed from places throughout the US, we should also advocate that they be removed from our own back yard.
NOTE: Through the course of this petition, it has been discovered that the street may also be named for Johnston's son, or for his family more generally. Also, the nearby streets Hancock and Griffin are named after family members. Let's consider re-naming all three streets to honor civil rights heroes instead of this prominent Confederate family!
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