McDuffie Introduces Legislation to Create a Commission to Review Names of District Memorials and Places

McDuffie Introduces Legislation to Create a Commission to Review Names of District Memorials and Places

Legislation Creates a Commission to Review Controversial Monuments, Markers, and Symbols, including Statues, Street Names, and School Names in the District of Columbia

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair Pro Tempore and Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development introduced the Advisory Commission on Monuments, Markers, and Symbols Establishment Act of 2019 [B23-0234]. This legislation directs the mayor to establish an advisory commission to make recommendations regarding controversial monuments, markers, and symbols, such as statues, street names, and school names, that are seen as oppressive and inconsistent with District of Columbia values. After consulting experts and engaging the residents of the District of Columbia, the Commission will submit a report containing its recommendations to the Council and Mayor.

This legislation builds on Councilmember McDuffie’s recent call to change the name of his alma mater, Woodrow Wilson High School, and the community-led effort to rename what is now known as Lawrence E. Boone Elementary School (formerly Benjamin Orr Elementary) in Ward 8.

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“A symbol or monument can be benign to one person and be deeply offensive to another. The advisory commission established in this legislation aims to channel the important dialogue occurring across the District of Columbia and to reconcile symbols and monuments that have often complicated histories behind them in a thorough and thoughtful way.”