The results are in: 261 (58%) Yes votes versus 189 (42%) No votes to remove “Stapleton” from the name of our neighborhood association, Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN). Although a definitive majority of voters support the name change, the Stapleton community has not met the 66% threshold required to amend SUN’s bylaws. This outcome is disappointing and goes against the rising tide: Other neighborhood organizations, such as The Stapleton Foundation (now The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities), the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board (CAB), and the Stapleton Development Corporation (now SDC), have already discontinued honoring Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton, due to his membership in and enabling of the Ku Klux Klan in Denver during the 1920s. A supermajority of 66% to change the name would have been another step in the right direction for our community.
This issue is not new. Objections to the use of the name Stapleton have been raised since the very beginning of the old airport’s redevelopment, when the SDC formed a committee that created a written policy restricting the developer to use of the name as a locater for marketing purposes only. Those concerns were minimized and dismissed by Forest City in favor of making the name “Stapleton” central to their branding and marketing campaigns. In 2015, Black Lives Matter 5280 revived this issue and took the initiative to push for the name change, and in 2017, Rename St*pleton for All picked up the torch and is carrying on this work.
We believe that the momentum of the people is in the direction of change. We live here. We are raising our families here. And we are not going away. As our late, beloved leader Dr. Gregory Diggs once said, “We will be back.” We will continue to educate the community through our cultural history program Denver Faces Our KKK History Together. We now are very confident that as more and more people learn this history, they will own it—in order to disown it.
We will continue to partner with those who share our desire to make our community one that is truly welcoming to all residents. In their statement releasing the vote results, SUN affirmed their commitment to working on inclusivity and equity, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate.
We thank everyone who came out to vote on Tuesday, those still on the fence, and even those who voted no. To the growing community of people who are willing to work toward a more welcoming, equitable neighborhood, we have this message: Our work is not done. SUN’s name may not change yet, but we have proven we are a definitive majority and we are stronger for this vote. We invite you to join us in moving forward because we believe that we are better people than our history may suggest, and we will do the work to make this the community and world we want to live in. The name is only the beginning.
We need your help! On May 15, Stapleton United Neighbors will hold a vote to amend the bylaws to change the neighborhood association’s name to “Central Park United Neighbors” (for Central Park Blvd., which runs the entire north-south length of the community). Removing the name Stapleton will be another important step forward in removing the name from our community.
The momentum is with us. In the past few months, the boards of Stapleton Foundation (now the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities), the Citizens Advisory Board, and Stapleton Development Corporation (now simply the SDC) have all dropped the name, but May 15 marks the first time that community members will have the chance to vote.
** It will take a YES vote of 66% of residents who show up to vote, so WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK! **
Votes must be in-person by paper ballot, but you are not required to attend the full Community Forum. A station will be set up between 6–8:30 p.m. where people come in to cast their ballots and leave if they’re unable to stay for the whole meeting. (Read through to the end of this message for the full event details.)
Please let us know if we can count on you to attend by filling out this brief RSVP survey. It’s essential that we have as many supporters as possible in attendance and voting, so we’ll be using this form to follow up with anyone who has any questions, who needs help attending, who can help us to get out the vote, and we’ll also send out a quick night-before reminder to everyone who plans to attend.
NOTE: If you are ineligible to vote (see below), you can still help us! You can help us get out the vote by contacting likely supporters who live in Stapleton and urging them to show up to vote. You can also help with phone banking, so respond to this email if you are interested.
Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you on May 15!
The Rename St*pleton for All Team
What: At the SUN Annual Community Forum, via a paper, residents will be asked to respond yes or no to the question:
Should the name of the Registered Neighborhood Organization, as reflected in the Organization’s By-Laws Article 1, Section 1 as well as any other references to the name in all other sections of the By-Laws, be changed from Stapleton United Neighbors to Central Park United Neighbors?
When: Tuesday, May 15, 6–8:30 p.m.
Where: The Cube, 8371 E. Northfield Blvd.
Who can vote? Any person over the age18 who resides in or owns residential property in “the footprint of SUN” as defined in Article I, section 1:
The footprint of SUN is contained within the City of Denver, bounded on the western edge by Syracuse St (Montview Blvd to 23rd Ave), Quebec St (23rd Ave to Northfield Blvd), Spruce Way (Northfield Blvd to 53rd Pl) Spruce St (53rd Pl to 56th Ave), and Central Park Blvd (56th Ave to 64th Ave); on the northern edge by 56th Ave (Spruce St to Central Park Blvd), 64th Ave (Central Park Blvd to Havana St), and Martin Luther King Blvd (Havana St to Peoria St); on the eastern edge by Havana St (64th Ave to 56th Ave, Dallas St (56th Ave to I-70), Havana St (I-70 to Martin Luther King Blvd) and Peoria St (Martin Luther King Blvd to 26th Ave); and on the southern edge by 23rd Ave (Quebec St to Syracuse St), Montview Blvd (Syracuse St to Beeler St), and 26th Ave (Beeler St to Peoria St).
How can I vote? Votes must be in-person by paper ballot. You will not have to stay for the full meeting; a station will be set up between 6–8:30 p.m. where people come in to cast their ballots. (Each voter will be required to write their name, address and signature on the paper ballot in order to verify eligibility. While not anonymous, votes will be confidential as SUN will not release information about individual votes.)