Phoenix city council starts process to rename Squaw Peak Drive, Robert E. Lee Street

The Phoenix city council unanimously voted to start the street renaming process for two streets in Phoenix that are considered offensive and derogatory.

The two names that will be renamed are Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street.

Mayor Kate Gallego tweeted last month about starting the process to change the names. Gallego and Councilwoman Thelda Williams initiated the process on June 18.

Councilman Carlos Garcia says the name changes will be tough for some, but he hopes everyone "shows the same grace as we continue to push policy changes for black lives."

The word "squaw" is a demeaning word for a Native American woman, and other alternatives to the street are Peak Drive and Piestewa Peak Drive.

Robert E. Lee was a confederate general "who represents historical institutions of racism and slavery." Instead of glorifying the general and confederacy, other names that were suggested are Freedom Street or Justice Street.

There will be four public meetings, two for each street, to get feedback from the community. Dates for those meetings are not scheduled yet.

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