More about Liz
More about Michael
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.
More about Kim
More about Cora
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.
Greg Diggs "Agitator in Chief"
Founding Co-President, former board member: Community & Student Outreach
Genevieve Swift "Rabble-rouser"
Founding Co-President, former board member, and current website support
More about Genevieve
The first time I heard that Stapleton was named after a KKK mayor, about a decade ago, I quickly dismissed it. In 2015, when Black Lives Matter 5280 blanketed the neighborhood with banners and fliers, I felt we should change the name; but when officials said it was too difficult or that it wasn’t even really the name, I thought maybe we should put up a plaque about our inclusive values instead. I still didn’t get it. When a member of BLM5280 attended a neighborhood meeting and spoke about how harmful the name is, I was moved. I suggested to him that members of BLM5280 come to our homes and try to compel us to act. Still didn’t get it. In a society that is so protective of white feelings, we don’t always get it. I ask that you not be dismissive, that you not try to say the community is inclusive and welcoming without doing the real work, that you take responsibility and act instead of passing the buck. I hope you get it faster than I did.
Meet the Legal Team
Jackie St. Joan
Legal Team Lead & “Denver Faces”
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
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP
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.