DENVER — After more than 50 years in the making, a beloved space in northwest Denver is now officially recognized as La Raza Park, a name it’s long been dubbed by those who’ve known it best.
The Denver City Council on Monday unanimously approved the renaming of the Sunnyside neighborhood’s Columbus Park, formerly named in 1931 for Christopher Columbus, a historical figure who’s come under global scrutiny in light of the impact of European exploration on indigenous civilizations.
The Denver park name change comes in the wake of racial justice protests spurred nationally by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. The movement has reignited calls to take down monuments to white supremacy, Confederate sympathizers and slave owners. In fact, Gov. Jared Polis has since formed an advisory board to explore the renaming of geographical features and public spaces in Colorado.
The Denver initiative was pushed to the finish line by District 1 Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, who held two socially-distanced, in-person petition signing events at the park in late July that generated more than double the amount of 300 supportive signatures needed to advance it to the Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The name change initiative received overwhelming support, including from state Rep. Serena Gonzalez-Gutierrez and state Sen. Julie Gonzales.
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