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Grand Rapids changes street names to honor Martin Luther King and Cesar E. Chavez

A construction worker standing in a lift next to the newly built street signs for Cesar E Chavez Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. street
City of Grand Rapids
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Grand Rapids changes street names to honor Martin Luther King and Cesar E. Chavez

“These two leaders are a prime example of how to get change, systematic change," Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack said.

Grand Rapids has officially changed two street names to honor Civil Rights heroes Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez. A ribbon cutting on Tuesday, February 22 welcomed the change.

“It was a very proud and beautiful moment to see Dr. Martin Luther King’s name on the street sign, understanding that so many children will walk down that street or passed that street and get to understand that America truly does honor this Civil Rights leader as well as Ceasar Chavez," Kent County Commissioner Robert S. Womack said.

Womack Co-chairs the group MARCH – Moving Ahead for Remarkable Civil Rights Heroes. He, along with Co-Chair Lupe Ramos Montigney, have been pushing for this change for more than 20 years.

“It just shows how much our city has changed and how far that it has come, because last time the city and the system we’re totally working against us, it was an uphill fight it was a battle," Womack said.

Womack says while some may see it as just a few street signs, its effects on Black and Brown communities could span generations.

“I hope that every time they look up and see Cesar E. Chavez name they’re reminded of a great way of getting things done and every time they look up and see Dr. Martin Luther King’s name I hope they remember an America with Democracy we can be change through peaceful measures," he said.

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