- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - In the wake of deadly shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, some activists are trying to change the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

The lake is named after John Caldwell Calhoun, a South Carolina statesman and former vice president. Calhoun was a proponent of slavery.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports (https://bit.ly/1FymUQ5 ) more than 1,000 people have signed a petition asking the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to rename the lake, saying it would be an important step in ending systemic racism.

“While changing the name of a lake will not, in itself, bring an end to injustice,” Mike Spangenberg, a Minneapolis activist who started the petition, wrote on change.org, “it can and should be an important step in an ongoing effort to confront our nation’s past and to end systemic racism and oppression today.”

The board tried to rename the lake as recently as 2011 but didn’t have legal authority to do it.

Renaming a Minnesota lake requires a petition to the county board, the signatures of at least 15 registered voters, a public hearing and county approval. The resolution must then be signed by the state Department of Natural Resources commissioner and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. The process, which is part of state law, has been in place since 1937 with few tweaks in its language.

Park board commissioner Brad Bourn says he’ll continue to push the issue.

“To a lot of people, having our No. 1 lake in the state named after John C. Calhoun is very similar to flying a Confederate flag in the heart of the city of Minneapolis,” Bourn said. “I think it’s a good conversation to have and I’m glad folks are engaging in it.”


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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