Feedback Received on the name Stapleton United Neighbors
In the fall of 2017, Stapleton United Neighbors solicited feedback both in person (Dec. 11, 2017) and electronically via an online form (Nov. 14–Dec.9).
In-person Feedback: Among the 39 individuals who chose to provide feedback during the two Dec. 11 sessions, 22 Stapleton residents spoke for removing the name Stapleton, 10 called for no change, 5 spoke neutrally.
SUN’s bylaws specify that if more than 20 community members request a change to the bylaws, this change should be brought to the community for a vote. This vote will occur during the Annual Forum May 15, 6–8pm (see final section below).
Online feedback: 372 residents provided an opinion on the community name Stapleton (top panel) and 369 on the organization name Stapleton United Neighbors (bottom panel). For each person strongly preferring a community name change there were 2.3 people strongly preferring no change; and for each person strongly preferring a name change for Stapleton United Neighbors, 1.9 people strongly prefer no change.
Themes of write-in responses among people strongly preferring a change include: Stapleton’s ties to the KKK, issues tied to the developer of Stapleton (Forest City) and lagging achievement of affordable housing, the change is a symbolic low-hanging-fruit of rejecting racism, the name is an impediment to community diversity, cost should not be a barrier, that some people are uncomfortable with the name, and the analogy to statue removal (that civil war statues are being removed). This group also referred to SUN as perpetuating white privilege, racist, and worthy of being ashamed.
Among people preferring no-change themes included that the name was not picked to honor or celebrate a person, the current neighborhood is welcoming, that a name change will not have the desired effect, that the logistics and cost of a name change are too cumbersome, that this would also suggest a need to change the name of other places (e.g., Denver, Mt. Evans, Speer Blvd., etc.) the analogy to statues (that the name of a place differs from a monument or statue that can be physically removed). This group reported discomfort with discussing the topic in-person for fear of being called racist for taking a no-change stance.
For further help in processing and discussing local history, SUN is co-hosting a day of community reflection (see below).
February SUN Meetings: Central Park Rec Center Tuesday, Feb. 20
SUN’s monthly Outreach meeting in February (Tuesday, Feb. 20, 6:30–7:30pm) will have a focus on transportation and pedestrian and cyclist safety. We will include updates from a late January meeting at Anschutz Medical Campus to discuss plans for the campus build-out for accessibility for non-motorized commuters. As part of the discussion, we will have representatives from NE Denver Transportation Connections, Denver Police Department, and the City of Denver Department of Public Works.
The SUN board meeting will immediately follow the outreach meeting (7:30–8:45pm). Board members will assess needs for the coming year and discuss language to be offered for a bylaw change in May.
Sustainable Neighborhoods Program Kickoff Workshop: Wednesday, Feb. 28 at The Cube 6:30pm–8:30pm
The Stapleton community will be launching its participation in the City and County of Denver’s Sustainable Neighborhoods Program with a Kickoff workshop on Feb. 28 at 6:30pm. The workshop will be held at The Cube (8371 Northfield Blvd., Denver, CO 80238).
Denver’s Sustainable Neighborhoods Program is a certification program that offers resources and support to neighborhoods seeking to organize workshops, projects and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhood and reduce residents’ ecological footprint. Participating neighborhoods earn program credits for their efforts while the city provides in-kind resources, such as printing, venue and catering fees, and staff time to support projects.
The purpose of the kickoff workshop will be to connect residents interested in participating in program projects to hear directly from city staff on how the program works, and to provide an opportunity for residents with common areas of interest to start brainstorming project ideas. No commitment will be asked of anyone attending the Kickoff Workshop. We encourage anyone in the community interested in learning more about this program to attend. Please contact Geoff Horsfall at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Save the Date: Day of Reflection Saturday, Apr. 21, 12:30–4:30pm, Sam Gary Library
Please join us for an exploration of and a chance to think more deeply about our history. In recent times, many neighbors have been thinking hard about our regional history, and about the very name “Stapleton.” This is a very healthy state of affairs, since an evidence-based understanding of history is essential for decision making in any era. To both respond to widely felt curiosity and to promote a solid understanding of the past, three organizations—Stapleton United Neighbors, the Denver Public Library, and the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West—have organized an event, providing an opportunity for several accomplished historians to share their knowledge.
Professors Albert Broussard (Texas A&M University), Robert Goldberg (University of Utah, and Geoffrey Hunt (Aurora Community College) will present, followed by discussion moderated by Professors Rebecca Hunt (University of Colorado at Denver) and Patty Limerick (State Historian). Principal learning objectives are: 1) a recognition of the distinctive features of the KKK in the 1920s and the American West; 2) a grounded understanding of the relationship between Benjamin Stapleton and the KKK; and 3) a chance to think carefully about the ways that citizens in a democratic republic can—with civility and openness—reflect on the wisest and most productive ways to respond to the complex stories we inherit from the past.
Annual Community Forum: Tuesday, May 15, 6–8pm at The Cube
Tentative agenda begins with SUN’s annual elections and any voting on a change to SUN’s bylaws, followed by development updates on retail and housing from Forest City, and information about the State Land Board’s process that Stapleton residents first encountered in January 2018. SUN is working to have an explanation of what factors are weighted when parcels are reconsidered if previously deferred for leasing.