Cora Galpern

Cora Galpern

Student Liaison

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I have lived in St*pleton for 15 years and am currently a senior at George Washington High School. I want to make a difference before I go off to college and I believe the best way for me to do that is to work towards making my community a better place. Growing up in St*pleton, I have been privileged to reap the many benefits the neighborhood has to offer. I attended wonderful public schools within walking distance, still spend lots of time at the pools and parks, and have always felt safe in my home. But over time, the neighborhood’s sense of safety has become increasingly synonymous with a sense of exclusivity and elitism. I have grown up in a safe, but sheltered environment, and this I hope to change. I believe the name is an important, but not isolated, step we as a community must take towards making it a more inclusive place. I also believe that the conversations we have had already around the name and its meaning are uniquely important and that civil discourse is imperative when talking about sensitive issues. The name needs to be changed; the conversation already has changed, and I look forward to impacting positive change in the community beyond the name.

Michael McMurray

Michael McMurray

Fundraising

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I am a scientist who runs a research lab at the local medical school. I was born in Colombia and am half-white, half-latino. I moved to the US as a toddler and grew up in Texas, where my skin color could have made me the target of stereotypes and discrimination. However, I had the privilege of being raised by a white father who ran his own research lab, and he gave me a “white” surname and access to opportunities to enrich my academic pursuits and pave the way towards getting into graduate school. In college, I had essentially a full scholarship based not on need or race but on academic success, but I was still strongly encouraged to apply for other, minority-targeted scholarships, and I had mixed feelings when I obtained them — weren’t there others more in need? When I arrived in graduate school I was very sensitive about any hint that I received special attention because of my race. I wanted to be judged on merit alone, since I didn’t think I’d had to overcome any racial bias, and I began to believe that all scholarships and admissions decisions should be based on merit or economic status, never race. Despite the fact that I was aware of it, my privilege blinded me to the very real hardships of others. Only many years later did I begin to understand systemic racial bias and inequity, and I became aware of that blinding effect of privilege. (It’s not about me! It was never about me.) I learned of the origin of the St*pleton name only a few years ago, and I quickly realized that the apathy shared by many of my neighbors’ is a manifestation of that same blindness. With a full-time job and two small children, I have little time and energy to spare, but I am determined to do what I can to make this name change happen.

Genevieve Swift

Genevieve Swift

Website & Events

Email / 720-583-6803

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I have a strong past in the Human Resources (HR) field. My organizational skill set and understanding of employment law has stayed with me; however, my heart always pushed me towards employee advocacy as opposed to employer.  Throughout my career in HR, and while consulting with Jefferson County Workforce, LeaderQuest, and volunteering at Arrupe Jesuit High School and the Community College of Denver (CCD), I assisted job seekers with resume critiques, skills assessments, mock interviews, and professional training. These interests led me to my position at CCD’s Career Development Center.

While working as the Employer Relations Specialist at CCD’s Career Development Center, I was drawn toward working directly with the students and eventually transitioned into a role at the Student Life office. It was a demanding and incredibly rewarding job. I supervised 10 student employees and assisted in managing the office. Most of my time was spent working with and serving CCD’s diverse student body. Throughout my career I’ve always strived to promote learning and individual potential. CCD was the perfect place to do just that.

As a full-time stay-at-home-parent,especially in the beginning, a lot of my adult interactions, interests, and learning was done very publicly on social media. Around the time that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were killed, I was compelled to act and started NE Denver Neighbors for Racial Justice. I have chosen a path of community activism. Currently, I am a leader in the Rename St*pleton for All initiative. With two young children who are my primary responsibility, involvement in their schools, and activism, it can be overwhelming. I always want to do more.  My vision for Rename St*pleton For All is to address the apathy I see, among even the more liberal members of my community, in regards to white supremacy.  Removing the name from places of honor is a great step in the right direction.  We’ve got an incredible army of social justice warriors right here in Denver, who are doing great work.  Together we can create much needed change.  Join the conversation and take action.  We’ve got work to do!

Kim Brewer

Kim Brewer

Treasurer

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Liz Stalnaker

Liz Stalnaker

Board Chair

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I live, work, and raise my family in Stapleton. My children are your children’s classmates. We see each other at the grocery store, in the schoolyard, at Bladium birthday parties. I’m your neighbor. And I strongly support renaming our community.

My reasons for this are deeply personal: I am a mixed Asian woman who grew up in a town that had almost no diversity and is still over 94% white. I lived on a street that considered itself close-knit, full of nice people who looked out for each other. But my family was not welcomed into their homes; we seemed to live a separate, parallel existence from our neighbors. And then one day, a teenager spray-painted the word “gooks” on the street right in front of our house. That label was a visible expression of what I already knew—that we weren’t welcomed, that we didn’t belong. It was impossible to ignore. Or so you’d think. My neighbors very deliberately did ignore it. Not a single neighbor reached out to my parents to express alarm or sympathy for the vandalism. Not a single neighbor offered to help clean it up. All these years later, it’s the silence of my neighbors that shocks me more than the racist graffiti itself.

So that brings me to today, in Denver, Colorado. I now live in a community where its foundational document—the Green Book—explicitly states that “equity, diversity, and opportunity are fundamental objectives of the redevelopment plan” of the area that is now Stapleton.

But our demographics tell a different story: Stapleton is 82% white, and becomes whiter and less diverse as each new section of the development gets built out. Our community name also tells a different story: It comes from the old airport that was named to honor Benjamin F. Stapleton, former Denver mayor and Member #1128 of the Ku Klux Klan. During his tenure in the 1920s, he appointed other Klan members to positions of power, including the Chief of Police. The Klan used this power to control and terrorize Jews, Catholics, black people, and other ethnic minorities in Denver.

Each time the shameful history behind the name Stapleton has been raised, people of color in our community—our neighbors—have described how hurtful the continued use of a Klansman’s name is to them. Each time, their concerns were generally dismissed or ignored. It was only after the Listening Sessions in December 2017 that community stakeholder organizations began to take them seriously enough to discontinue the use of “Stapleton” in their names. We can and should build on this momentum.

But when I see statements from residents who declare the name Stapleton to be a non-issue—because it doesn’t affect them, because it’s always been this way, because it’s too difficult, and don’t we all know what a nice, close-knit neighborhood we are—that really shows me that the world has not changed much after all since I was a kid. Not really, and not nearly enough.

So that’s why I’m speaking up: I want to live in a community where we listen to our neighbors’ concerns and take them seriously. I want to live in a community that is actively working to live up to its highest ideals. And I want to live in a community that can bravely face the truth about history and make a principled decision about who we’re choosing to honor with our community name. Benjamin Stapleton’s membership in and embrace of the Ku Klux Klan disqualifies him from that honor. We know better, so now it’s time to do better. Join me in moving forward and committing to rename.

Jackie St. Joan

Jackie St. Joan

Legal Team Lead & "Denver Faces"

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I am a retired lawyer, Denver County judge, and law professor who has been fortunate to find a use for my background in law and policy to rename St*pleton for all. Following the visible rise of organized white supremacy in Charlottesville last summer, I followed the advice of a wise woman who said, “White people created white supremacy. Now fix it.” Changing the name does not end white supremacy, but it is at least an effort to correct mistakes of the past that haunts us.

My family and I have lived in Denver for 46 years. I knew about the KKK history of Benjamin Stapleton, so when the old airport became a real estate development that continued to use the name, I was very unhappy about it. Now I know that it was intended that the name fade away over time, but it has not, and without community effort, it will not. I am happy to have the opportunity to work with the community toward this common goal of renaming not only the Stapleton development, but also other public spaces that honor a shameful part of our history. I have two children and four grandchildren, and I enjoy dancing and singing as well as writing. I have edited and written four books—nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. www.jacquelinestjoan.com www.Mysistersmadeoflight.com

Eleanor K. Wedum

Eleanor K. Wedum

Legal Team

Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP

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Libby Comeaux

Libby Comeaux

Legal Team

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Greg Diggs "Agitator in Chief"

Greg Diggs "Agitator in Chief"

Former Co-President: Community & Student Outreach

Dr. Gregory Diggs Memorial Scholarship Fund

We represent many groups and organizations. We are black, white, people of color. We are of a variety of faiths. We love who we choose to love, regardless of sex or gender identity. We embody several generations. Our abilities do not define us or limit us. We are your neighbors, we are your friends, we are parents, we are grandparents. We are Elementary, Middle School, High School students and beyond. We embrace scholarship, with open hearts and minds, knowing that knowledge is power.