Denver renames Columbus Park as La Raza Park

Denver renames Columbus Park as La Raza Park
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Denver city government officials on Monday voted to rename Columbus Park as La Raza Park.

The Denver City Council passed the change unanimously, though the park has unofficially been called by its "new name" for years, according to The Denver Post.

“‘La raza is a word of unity and about celebrating community,” Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, who sponsored the change, said, according to the newspaper. 

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"La Raza" also signifies a celebration of the Chicano and civil rights movements, according to the Post.

Those in favor of the change argued that the renaming served as a long overdue correction after the park was originally named after Christopher Columbus. Columbus has, for some, become a symbol of colonialism and violence against Indigenous people in North America in recent decades. 

The historical figure's likeness was removed from public spaces throughout the country over the summer after nationwide protests erupted in late May over the death of George Floyd and police brutality. 

“Mexican Chicanos and Indigenous peoples have suffered genocide over the last 500 years,” Arturo Gonzalez, a retired Chicano studies professor, told the paper. “We live with that trauma. We continue to live with that trauma.”

The park, located in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, did face some opposition in its renaming from a local resident who argued the new name would take away from the Italian-American community, the news outlet reported.

The renaming comes after the city council renamed a neighborhood earlier this year that was previously named for a Ku Klux Klan member, the Post reported.