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A potential vote could decide the fate of renaming The Paseo in honor of MLK

Posted at 9:21 AM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 10:21:30-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A potential vote Thursday afternoon could end a long debate on whether The Paseo should be renamed to honor the late Martin Luther King Jr.

The Kansas City street has been named The Paseo for more than 120 years, which is one of the reasons some neighborhood groups are against the name change.

However, at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) will ask the city council to vote on a proposal to rename the street.

"Ours is a moral issue, ours is a faith-based issue, ours is a racial justice, and racial reconcilation issue," SCLC President Vernon Howard said. "Ours is an issue of beautification, cultural enrichment and the honoring of the people for so long on the east side who have not received the beautification and landmark and honor that we deserve."

Howard said if a vote doesn't happen, they're not giving up hope on making the name change happen.

"The people in these communities of color have the right and the empowerment to decide. Not the parks board, not even the city council of Kansas City, Missouri, but when grassroots communities raise up and decide we want a name change of a street in our neighborhood, and our community, then that ought to be honored and if it's not, it's a breach of representation," Howard said. "We believe that it's going to happen. If it's going to happen at a later election, if we have to do a petition initiative, and what we hope is is that the vote will take place."

Councilman Quinton Lucas is also working on a resolution for an up-down vote on this proposal, but it's unclear if the council will actually vote this week.