Children Lead Effort to Rename Street after MLK Jr.

By Christopher Cadelago 
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 6:15 a.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. Atlanta 1966In this Oct. 24, 1966 file photo, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is shown in Atlanta.  ENCANTO — A group of civic-minded youth has successfully steered through a proposal renaming Weston Street on the eastern rim of the city to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The San Diego City Council last week unanimously endorsed the effort from the Broadway Heights Youth Council in time for a planned ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 6.“The name change is not only a tribute to Dr. King’s legacy, but should serve as a reminder of power, of the power that you have in this great country to effect change,” Councilman Tony Young told the youth group. 

There are no streets in the city honoring Martin Luther King Jr., though a stretch of state Route 94 in San Diego is named after the civil rights icon, said Emily Williams of the Broadway Heights Youth Council. Weston Street is a 200-foot-long, two-lane road between Charlene Way and Tiffin Avenue near Lemon Grove. None of the four residential properties adjoining Weston Street use the street as an address, “so that was the perfect street to have renamed,” Emily told the council. 

“The renaming is important to the community because we have actually traveled across America and saw all the streets that have been dedicated to him,” she said. “Our community finds it a great opportunity to make history with having the first street to honor him in the city of San Diego.” Aside from serving as a tribute to the late civil rights leader, the renaming project was also intended as a lesson in how to maneuver through the process a real-life proposal, the group said. 

It came several years after a failed and “ugly” process to rename Market Street after King, said Young, whose district includes Encanto and Broadway Heights. “Some of the people who worked on this project weren’t born at that time and they didn’t experience the ugliness that surrounded that decision,” Young said. “This street renaming is the ultimate civic lesson. Kids interacted with government and got a taste of how bureaucracy works.” 

Youth Council members passed out fliers to 192 households in the community; collected signatures on petitions throughout Broadway Heights; met weekly to complete a work plan and completed the application and the map. • (619) 293-1334 • Twitter @ccadelago

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