DENVER — After increased pressure from several groups and individuals, including Denver Public School Board member Tay Anderson, the Master Community Association (MCA) announced Sunday it is "taking steps to remove the name "Stapleton" as it relates to the community and its operations."
"The current conversation regarding racism and social injustice has increased awareness and education within our community. It has become more clear that continuing with the current name is hurtful to many residents of all backgrounds and life experiences," read a statement regarding MCA's effort to change the neighborhood's name.
The MCA said its 11 elected members will meet Wednesday to start the process of removing the name from all branding, marketing and outreach materials. The nonprofit municipal organization said it will include the city of Denver and the developer, Brookfield, in its effort to remove all references of the name.
Once the community decides on a new name, MCA officials will send a resolution to the city requesting that they replace the name Stapleton with the new community name.
The popular Denver neighborhood was built on the land of the former Stapleton Airport. The community and the airport was named after former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the KKK back in the 1920s.
A possible name change has been debated for years. Stapleton residents voted in a 2019 referendum to keep the name, but following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests and movements calling for equality and the removal of racist imagery, statues, and names have gained steam.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, Benjamin Stapleton's great grandson, tweeted shortly after the MCA's announcement that he is disappointed that the results of last year's referendum were ignored, but is in favor of the change if helps heal racial inequality:
Disappointed only that dem process overlooked; votes cast multiple times by neighborhood residents.— Walker Stapleton (@WalkerStapleton) June 14, 2020
BUT.. IF..changing a name brings more equity, fairnesss and oppt’y for Denverites and specifically Coloradans of Color, I’m all IN.
The MCA's announcement comes one day after Anderson — who organized peaceful protests for George Floyd and led the charge to end DPS' relationship with the Denver Police Department — tweeted an ultimatum, demanding a name change in one week:
The neighbors of Stapleton have ONE WEEK to change their name ... if they do NOT we will march through their neighborhood to show them #BlackLivesMatter— Tay Anderson (@TayAndersonCO) June 13, 2020
The MCA said it "supports individuals exercising their constitutional right to protest peacefully and safely and hopes that any protests are conducted in a safe and non-violent manner."