A Lansing area group working to rename part of Grand River Avenue after civil rights activist Cesar Chavez is organizing a rally Monday at the State Capitol. WKAR’s Karel Vega reports.
Members of The Lansing for Cesar E. Chavez Committee will gather at the state Capitol at 4:30 p.m. before moving on to the Lansing City Council meeting at 7 p.m. to show support for the name change.
Ignacio Andrade is Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the MSU Cesar E. Chavez Commemorative Celebration and a member of the Lansing for Cesar E. Chavez committee. He says renaming Grand River Ave would be a step toward making Lansing a more inclusive city in the wake of recent demonstrations of intolerance in the city, including a racially charged attack against a Latino man.
“What’s important to know is that the capital city I feel is one city with two potential paths. One path toward further hostility and hate and the other path is toward acceptance and inclusion.” Says Andrade.
The City of Lansing Memorial Review Board voted on August 15 to approve the renaming of the stretch of Grand River Avenue between Oakland Ave and Pine Street. On August 28, The Lansing City Council received the application and was given 90 days to vote on the renaming.
Several businesses wrote letters to the Memorial Review Board in opposition of the renaming including Jennifer Estill, the Creative Director of Redhead Design Studio. The business is no longer located on Grand River Ave, but was for nearly a decade. Estill says she supports a renaming but thinks there are better options than Grand River.
“If it were up to me, I would suggest we go bigger and better. We are Michigan’s capital city. I would love to see us rename Capitol [Ave]. That’s named after a building that doesn’t mean anything necessarily." Says Estill. "The ability to educate and get in front of the eyeballs of legislators and tourists and kids going on field trips. That would be far more significant.”
Andrade says Grand River Ave has historical significance to the Latino and Hispanic community in Lansing.
The Lansing City Council has until November 26 to vote on the renaming.