DENVER — In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the 11 elected delegates on the Stapleton Master Community Association (MCA) approved a motion to move ahead with the renaming process.
The motion is a recommendation for a name change, not a sanctioned authorization for such a change. The neighborhood association, Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN), will primarily be responsible for coming up with a new name for the neighborhood.
The neighborhood association, made up of members who own and rent in the Stapleton neighborhood, met Tuesday to discuss the name change process. The MCA said it will work with SUN during the process.
Once a new name is decided upon, MCA delegates will hold a vote to approve the name change and formally present the motion to the board of directors. The process could be completed sometime after Aug. 1 at the earliest.
The MCA said it has already begun removing the name from all branding, marketing and outreach materials. Still, Denver City council members will have the final say when it comes to renaming the neighborhood.
Wednesday's vote comes after the MCA released a statement over the weekend, stating that is was "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 nonprofit municipal organization said the move to change the neighborhood's name was not a result of recent pressure from groups and individuals, including Denver Public School Board member Tay Anderson who tweeted an ultimatum Saturday.
Delegates said the began exploring the idea of removing references of the name on marketing material, buildings and vehicles weeks before Anderson's tweet, "but it certainly sped up the process," one delegate said during Wednesday's Zoom meeting.
The popular Denver neighborhood was built on the land of the former Stapleton Airport. The community and the airport were 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 weekend announcement that he is disappointed that the results of last year's referendum were ignored, but is in favor of the change if it 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.