5,000 People Push For Road Name Change - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/27/07

5,000 People Push For Road Name Change

Those leading the effort to rename Canyon Lake Drive are hoping 5,000 signatures will persuade the city council.  Organizers want to name the street after civil rights leader, Cesar E. Chavez.

They delivered their petition to council Thursday morning, but opposition is coming from those who say the road describes the area.  NewsChannel 11 found out why organizers picked this particular road.

It's an issue Lubbock City Council Members have been hearing about for months, renaming Canyon Lake Drive to Cesar Chavez Drive.  Councilman John Leonard tells us it's prompted the largest e-mail blitz on a single issue that he's ever seen, and now, council members have 5,000 signatures, all people saying they want the change.

"We're not required to do this, but we did this on our own will, and we have signatures, not only from citizens in Lubbock, but all over the place," Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee Chair Christy Martinez-Garcia said. 

Those names include Chavez' son and even presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"He said our struggles are really one in the same, and that's the type of message that we're trying to send," Martinez-Garcia said. 

If Canyon Lake Drive is renamed as Cesar Chavez Drive, it would intersect with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and organizers tell us this would be the only place in the United States where that happens.

"Maybe for some, one is more significant than the other, but regardless of that, it will bring opportunities to build a relationship," Martinez-Garcia said. 

The group chose Canyon Lake Drive because it runs along two former migrant worker camps.

"Where people suffered and lived in the poorest conditions that you can imagine," Martinez Garcia said. 

Chavez worked to create better conditions for laborers, co-founding the United Farm Workers union.

"We're open to compromising, but this street has an emotional connection for our community, so this is the street that we want," Martinez-Garcia said. 

Again, the petition is not required to change the street name. Organizers collected the signatures just to show support.

Council members are expected to vote on renaming the street at their October 11th meeting.

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