Connecting Fairfax City's Past and Present to Build a More Equitable and Inclusive Future

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Update: April 26, 2022 -- The public hearing on streets to be renamed has been moved to June 14. Council action would occur June 28.

Connecting Fairfax City for All

The City of Fairfax recognizes there is strength in diversity and acknowledges the need for a broader community conversation around the issues of racial and social equity, systemic racism, symbolism, and identity.

Confederate Lane and Plantation Pkwy signsNomenclature in the City of Fairfax
Evolving views about who and what should be memorialized in public spaces and on public land present an opportunity for the City of Fairfax to examine its nomenclature. Confederate-related street and place names, historical markers and monuments, and elements in the city seal will be discussed in the context of how these symbols reflect the City Council’s goals of inclusivity and building community.

City residents are invited to participate in thought-provoking conversations that connect current realities with the city’s historical past. Ultimately, through a series of listening and learning opportunities, the goal is to connect the present to a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors.

“This initiative, endorsed by the City Council, holds great promise for our city residents to engage with each other with respect, compassion, and an openness to learning and gaining a greater understanding of each other,” said City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “This is an opportunity for all of us to discern what actions we may take to create a preferred future that is inclusive and more just and equitable.”

Partnership with George Mason University
To accomplish this work, the city has partnered with the George Mason University Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Working with the Carter School, the city has outlined a process to listen to community voices, engage the community in learning sessions and structured, facilitated discussions, and will form a diverse working group to make recommendations on action items and identify areas for further community discussion. City Council will consider the recommendations in 2021 before making decisions regarding the city’s nomenclature.

Please explore this project site, drop a pin on the map, share your ideas, tell your story, or leave a comment. Click on the social media icons to share with others.

Update: April 26, 2022 -- The public hearing on streets to be renamed has been moved to June 14. Council action would occur June 28.

Connecting Fairfax City for All

The City of Fairfax recognizes there is strength in diversity and acknowledges the need for a broader community conversation around the issues of racial and social equity, systemic racism, symbolism, and identity.

Confederate Lane and Plantation Pkwy signsNomenclature in the City of Fairfax
Evolving views about who and what should be memorialized in public spaces and on public land present an opportunity for the City of Fairfax to examine its nomenclature. Confederate-related street and place names, historical markers and monuments, and elements in the city seal will be discussed in the context of how these symbols reflect the City Council’s goals of inclusivity and building community.

City residents are invited to participate in thought-provoking conversations that connect current realities with the city’s historical past. Ultimately, through a series of listening and learning opportunities, the goal is to connect the present to a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors.

“This initiative, endorsed by the City Council, holds great promise for our city residents to engage with each other with respect, compassion, and an openness to learning and gaining a greater understanding of each other,” said City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “This is an opportunity for all of us to discern what actions we may take to create a preferred future that is inclusive and more just and equitable.”

Partnership with George Mason University
To accomplish this work, the city has partnered with the George Mason University Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Working with the Carter School, the city has outlined a process to listen to community voices, engage the community in learning sessions and structured, facilitated discussions, and will form a diverse working group to make recommendations on action items and identify areas for further community discussion. City Council will consider the recommendations in 2021 before making decisions regarding the city’s nomenclature.

Please explore this project site, drop a pin on the map, share your ideas, tell your story, or leave a comment. Click on the social media icons to share with others.

Comments

Conversations about history, systemic racism, symbolism, and identity are difficult and complex. They can trigger passionate responses. As community members ask questions, share concerns, and engage in collective introspection, we encourage civil and respectful discourse. 

After you post your comment, please explore stories and ideas shared by other community members. Drop a pin on the map to identify areas for further study. 

loader image
Didn't receive confirmation?
Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.

I am Patrick L Booker and I am in full support of the Stakeholder Advisory Group's mission to rename the current offensive Confederate memorabilia. I was inspired to participate in this by Rahmein Mostafavi who posted a well spoken tiktok video about this ( https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTdokxUcj/?k=1).
I believe that the confederacy represents TREASON AND TRAITORSHIP to our country and therefore should be banned from public display by FEDERAL LAW. Moreover, I believe that, if the Confederate flag is borne/worn or flown by anyone, it shall be accompanied by a White flag of PEACE, as Robert E. Lee himself did wave the white flag, thereby surrendering/kneeling in peace. See my Tittok video of my encounter with a white man, Bryan Moon, who I caught with his Devilishment while bearing the Confederate flag
https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTdokbUSd/?k=1, if this link doesn't work go to my tiktok page @kevinpresident2020 and see how that encounter went. Please email me at patrickbooker85@gmail.com for any comments about this or for speaking engagements. Thank you

PATRICK L. BOOKER 2 days ago

Please change these names. It is long overdue. Renaming won't erase history; it will make the diverse community of Fairfax feel less icky and oppressed, though. I shouldn't have had to grow up next to Lee Highway, 120 years after the general it was named after _lost_ a war against this country. Kinda doesn't even make sense.

Sharon E 3 days ago

The intersection of Union/Confederate sounds better than Plantation/Confederate

DW 5 days ago

I agree and support renaming the street signs from confederate type names. Please do so and rename those streets. Thank you.

Yvette Scott-Butler 5 days ago

On this Juneteenth I reflect on the fact that the Confederacy fought for slavery during the Civil War and worked to undermine the rights of Blacks after the Civil War. I reflect on the countless brave slaves that endured brutality beyond our imagination to free themselves and their families. I reflect on the slaves that joined the Union to fight for their freedom and the slaves that sabotaged fields to deny the confederacy much needed goods. I reflect on the Abolitionists that risked their lives to help slaves find freedom. I reflect on the fact the slaves and abolitionists don’t have streets in their honor in Mosby Woods.

FM 6 days ago

I have read the SAGS recommendation to the city council and a number of comments both past and present. I thought this was to be about the city becoming more inclusive but, when you attempt to placate a few and alienate others it's a misunderstanding of the word inclusive. Fairfax City's history is here for a purpose. These particular historical reminders are here to hopefully remind ALL people of the pain, suffering, the loss of life the trials and tribulations our forefathers endured bringing forth this democracy. It was not perfect then and it's not perfect now; more can be done but this isn't it. You are to learn from history, not bury it. Those who are disenchanted with these historical reminders I ask that you reflect upon events that occurred 4 centuries ago and had they not, it's conceivable we wouldn't be here discussing the issue. I also ask you to look into the amendments, the events and sinister acts that have occurred since the civil war and begin associating names of politicians, governors, congressmen, senators, and others dead or living to them.

I have sent to city council the following questions that I feel need answered and a lengthy dissertation regarding this issue.

What was the rationale behind this movement and what or who brought this to your attention?
Can one assume that city council has already made its decision?
Do you believe that Fairfax City is racist and if so, why?
Do you believe that placating a few and alienating others benefits the city? How?
Do you believe there are better ways of being more inclusive than what is proposed?

A 62-year resident

EN 15 days ago

I live on Ranger Road. I don't want the name to change. I like "Ranger Road". It was one of the selling points for me when i moved in 20 years ago; I like simple street names.

The word 'ranger' has so many connotations and uses, that the only reason we're having this discussion is because it's part of "Mosby Woods"; thus, the context that surrounds it. I have no problems with renaming "Mosby Woods" to almost anything else, and once that's done, the civil war context IS LOST and that that point, it's just yet another random street name.

In fact, I would argue that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would associate the word 'ranger' specifically with the civil war. I would expect you to find people who are familiar with the word from the generic military title of 'ranger' or from J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings series" (i.e. Aragorn the ranger, one of the main characters) or many, many other fictional books and games. But, no, I would not expect anyone to associate 'ranger' with the civil war and be offended by it.

Chris Snyder about 1 month ago

As a resident of Plantation Pkwy, I want the name changed, however I do not want it named after a person. I also want to see Confederate and Reb sent to the archives. It is time to change, yes these names have been here for almost 60 years but we can do better, Virginia is no longer the land of the massive resistance. When we bought in the neighborhood, we bought because it was family friendly, affordable, not to far from my in-laws and close to Metro and commuter routes. I really did not think about the names, other thinking I'm glad the house we found wasn't on Confederate. Overtime I have come to realize what a dreadful connotation Plantation has and that is not a welcoming name to an otherwise great neighborhood. In many ways I think it would have been nice to have completely changed all street names to a new theme such as native flowers and fauna. However it seems that was not even considered. I think this may have kept folks from feeling piled on or apathic because it's not their street affected. There is also an incredible amount of misinformation going around about costs to property owners which is unfortunate. I also believe that the City of Fairfax should have conducted a survey versus leaving it to the Community Association and folks who took it upon themselves to create their own survey.

It was rather upsetting to see this issue end up in the Sunday Post. The comments section was especially brutal. The headline had a terrible slant to it.

MKC about 1 month ago

Please do not change the name of Ranger Road.  Residents of Cambridge Station Association do not associate the name of Ranger Road with John Mosby.  The name "Ranger" is associated with non-confederate names such as Army ranger and park ranger.

It's etymology has nothing to do with the confederacy.  Please check https://www.etymonline.com/word/ranger.

The name Ranger has been used in the United States since the Colonial times and is still used in the U.S. Army.

Susan Kuiler about 1 month ago

From what I have heard, the fairfax city politicians have already decided this issue. Why consult the people living here if their overwhelming opinion was not considered at all? Who will decide the new street names? This is an absolute joke. What a slap in the face of the people living on these streets for their opinion to be disregarded. Combined with the new “stormwater tax” I do hope these politicians get voted out.

Ranger Road about 1 month ago

I would like to propose renaming Mosby Woods to Loving Woods in honor of Richard and Mildred Loving, two Virginians who fought for the right to marry the person they loved and in doing so their case Loving v Virginia overturned laws against interracial marriages.

Richard and Mildred's impact on the Virginia, and the rest of our country is deserving of the highest forms of recognition. Mildred was of "mixed" race with Native American and African American ancestry while Richard was of European American, classified as white. His maternal grandfather, T. P. Farmer, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Also, I propose renaming Plantation Parkway to Mildred Parkway and renaming Confederate Lane to Richard Lane and putting a plaque on the intersection of Mildred Parkway and Richard Lane as a symbol of their union.

More information on them is available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mildred_and_Richard_Loving

FM about 1 month ago

A small minority of unhappy people -- who insist on "renaming” and "removing" our nation’s history and culture -- shouldn’t sway the Fairfax City Council into an illogical action by changing street names. Sports teams and grocery items have renamed themselves by yielding to this unhappy cause. It shouldn't be. This issue isn't a concern for the very large majority of US or Fairfax citizens. There is no logical reason to change these street names in Fairfax; it would be an emotional reaction to a small minority of people. The street names are fine as they are and contrary to bias voices the names are not offensive to 99.99% of the population. The current dozen or so names under consideration are probably historic in nature; history can't and shouldn't be changed, we can't erase our heritage.
It seems the driving point for “renaming” and “removing” names and symbols is the Civil War. However, the fundamental causes of the Civil War were over states' rights. But states’ rights from the 19th Century isn’t an easy issue to succinctly describe and get upset over in the 21st Century. Hence, a “minority movement” changed the issue to slavery and racism to give a “false” voice.
Street, building, and school names as well as statues throughout the world represent historical figures relevant to the creation of that culture. In the US many names and statues are from the south during a time that helped shape the culture of the US. Names and statues usually refer to heroes because they stood for what they felt was right and for their way of life. "History forgotten is doomed to repeat itself. If you are so afraid of it or hate it so much, would you really want to risk forgetting it and it repeating itself like so many other things in our world’s history that people tried to forget and were then repeated over and over again?"
A very few unhappy voices should not drive the Fairfax City Council to change names from our history. Most Fairfax citizens will not respond to a survey on changing street names because it's an insignificant, nonsensical, matter. If the council poles anyone it should be the families who live on those streets; if those families believe their street name should be changed, that would be a logical reason. Don't allow our heritage -- street names, statues, city seals, school names, and so on -- to be wiped out by a few illogical, emotional, and unhappy people.

ROC about 2 months ago

There's so much here to unpack that I hardly know where to start.

Let me state this out front: I really don't care what the streets in Mosby Woods are named. I expect that most residents don't either. I highly doubt that anyone will ever come forward and state that they chose to purchase the house they now own primarily because of the name of the street. Furthermore, I highly doubt that the same homeowner, if one exists, would seek to sell the house and move primarily because the name of the street had changed. The names of streets are merely LABELS and as a mature adult I fully understand that they don't really signify anything more than a reasonably-unique combination of little white squiggles on a narrow green sign that are easier to pronounce and remember than a string of random letters.
(I would also add "easier to spell" but then I live on Antietam Avenue and I've learned to reflexively spell it for people before they inevitably ask.)

What I do care about is integrity, and I'm woefully disappointed in many of the actors involved in this movement to rename streets.

First, there is the City Council. NO ONE should be supporting any decision to rename anything without the answer to a single, simple, obvious question: rename it to WHAT? Without knowing what the name will become, no one can reasonably evaluate whether the new name is actually better than the old. Maybe you don't like a certain street name but would you be okay with "Streety McStreetFace Street" in its place?

If there are two separate decisions--one on whether or not to rename and then another subsequent one on what the new name will be--then the first decision is completely irrelevant. Why? Because if all the possible new names are judged to be worse, then the original decision can just be reversed. A decision to rename without specifying what it will become is completely symbolic and a complete waste of time, money, and energy.

Also, think about this: if I applied to the city for a building permit to build an extension onto my house, they would immediately ask for a set of plans for what I intend to do. If I told the city I hadn't decided yet but I promise I'll provide it at a later time, they'd deny the permit until I could provide a set of plans AND THEY'D BE CORRECT TO DO SO.

No one should be supporting a half-baked, incomplete plan that doesn't specify, in advance, what the new name(s) would be.

Next, there are the "activists" who started all of this. To put it simply, I want to be allowed to live my life as I see fit and to be left alone to do it. So I'll give you a little thought experiment: Would any of you who support the renaming of a street like Plantation Parkway still support the renaming if it were to become "President Donald Trump Parkway" instead? No? Why not? It's simply the name of a U.S. President. Okay, he's controversial and you probably didn't vote for him. In fact, you probably think I'm being willfully provocative by even suggesting it.

Well, that's how I see you right now: being deliberately provocative. I hope you appreciate this insight into the people like me who are opposing you, and can come to understand that it's not about racism, not about celebrating the Confederacy, and not about being in favor of slavery. As I previously stated, I really don't care what the street is named, but I really do care about being left alone to live my life and not having activists getting in my face.

This brings us to the other elephant in the room: the costs. I'm very disappointed in the City for STILL not having provided any sort of estimate of the costs of renaming the streets. This tells me one thing: The City doesn't particularly CARE what it costs and is more interested in the symbolic than the substantive--ESPECIALLY when paired with the aforementioned purely-symbolic vote that doesn't include what the new name would be.

The problem, simply, is this: there is no way that this renaming issue can go forward without causing some form of harm to the residents who own homes and live on those streets. This harm takes many forms (financial costs, lost time, inconvenience, increased taxes, and the reduction of the quality of services provided by the City) and imposing it now in a time of financial difficulty is especially egregious. Even if the City pays for some of the financial costs, it can never pay for all of them, and even when it does, it's still just money that's been collected from those same taxpayers that could instead be used for other, more essential things.

What's worse is that the prospective benefit--which should be objectively outweighing the harm--are purely hypothetical, theoretical, and squarely in the realm of MAYBE. Seriously, please show me one person who has been negatively affected by the little white squiggles on the narrow green signs. Can you? Even if you can, I can show you a much longer list of people who will definitely be negatively affected by changing them.

Personally, I think the benefits are completely nil, but THAT is a debate we should be having, and we're not. Regrettably, a large part of the reason we're not having that debate is--of course--because the City continues to insist on moving forward without a good-faith estimate of the actual costs. Shame on you, City Council!

Speaking of costs, there's another reason why I'm disappointed in the "activists" behind this movement. Stop pretending to be kind and compassionate while simultaneously seeking to impose harm on your neighbors. In the age of the Internet, where is the GoFundMe or Kickstarter page to raise the money via private donations to offset these costs? Why is it okay to push changes down on your neighbors--ESPECIALLY in cases where you yourself are unaffected because you don't live on the given street--without putting your money where your mouth is?

In that same vein, I am also disappointed with the so-called Stakeholder's Advisory Group who seem to lack the self-awareness that most of them appear to be activists and not actual stakeholders. The stakeholders in the renaming of a residential street are the homeowners on that street AND NO ONE ELSE. If you are not directly affected by this (especially if you are not even a resident of Mosby Woods), then you are not a stakeholder, and you don't get to decide--for exactly the same reason why the citizens of some other town in some other state don't get to decide.

Finally, I'll leave you with another bit of food for thought. As you can probably surmise from my writing, I lean as a political conservative (and somewhat libertarian) and the reason I do is because I believe very strongly that freedom is the primary thing that has propelled this country to success throughout its history. Those of you who are advocating to rename the streets: You DO realize that the very same effect that you claim these street names have on people is the EXACT SAME effect that your current efforts are having on ME, right? This whole thing serves to make ME feel quite marginalized and unwelcome. Of course, the material difference is that I'm an actual, real-life person who actually currently exists in the real world, and not some theoretical, hypothetical person who may or may not come along in the future. Does this bother you at all? How is that okay?

But don't worry, I get it. The actual benefit for doing all of this is so that certain people can have something to point to and say, "Look what *I* did! I'm such a GOOD PERSON." and those of us who actually have to live with the consequences can just go to Hell.

Dwayne Zechman about 2 months ago

First and foremost, I find this whole effort to be one more effort to divide people in this country and community. Its a shame that some think changing a name will change what is in people's hearts and minds. The country is as divided as it has ever been and this is just one more wedge being driven in to continue the divide. We will have neighbor vs. neighbor, street vs. street, family member vs. family memeber. Where will it end. Secondly, who is going to bear the cost of this effort. Will George Mason, the City of Fairfax or the Stakeholder Advisory group take the fiscal brunt of this effort? In a time of high inflation and rising prices are families, seniors, and the disabled supposed to pay for a change brought on through no fault of their own? Finally, I think its ironic that the effort is being led by the City and George Mason University. George Mason was a prominent slave owner yet I don't hear anyone suggesting the university change its name prior to going after the City and a neighborhood. Instead you target street names that aren't even exclusive to the Confederacy and aren't defined by the Confederacy. As far as I'm concerned its the gorilla in the room. Just like all bullies you are going after the little guy because the big fight would be too hard.

DJK about 2 months ago

The renaming of problematic street names is a discussion that should include all City residents interested in the outcome.

When we were looking to buy in the city a few years ago, we specifically avoided Mosby Woods because of the street names. I don’t know how many other people made a similar decision, but it is an issue that will continue as long as the names remain unchanged. Perhaps some people looking to buy instead choose neighborhoods outside of the city. Consequently it’s likely the neighborhood skews towards acceptance of the names even though the broader population finds them objectionable.

Any and all of the names in the city that seemingly celebrate prominent Confederate themes should be changed.

Ron Frerker about 2 months ago

I have lived in Mosby Woods for 22 years and have always thought of the names as historical. If they are representative of something that people believe is negative or oppressive, then I am in favor of a name change. However, the names of our streets and neighborhood form a cohesive group. I do NOT think just a few names should be changed….I believe that ALL the names should be changed with a different theme - forming a new cohesive neighborhood. Changing just a few streets will leave us disjointed…..with no sense of community. I hope this will be considered.

Joanne DeMarco about 2 months ago

History is the most prominent reason cited for retaining street, neighborhood, and institutional names honoring the Confederacy. While that sounds noble, it conveniently suppresses the actual history those names are honoring. Consider these words delivered to the Virginia Secession Convention in 1861:
" As a race, the African is inferior to the white man. Subordination to the white man is his normal condition. He is not his equal by nature, and cannot be made so by human laws or human institutions. Our system, therefore, so far as regards this inferior race, rests upon this great immutable law of nature. It is founded not upon wrong or injustice, but upon the eternal fitness of things. Hence, its harmonious working for the benefit and advantage of both. Why one race was made inferior to another, is not for us to inquire. The statesman and the Christian, as well as the philosopher, must take things as they find them, and do the best he can with them as he finds them...The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African. The enemies of our institutions ignore this truth. " (Speech of the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy, to the Virginia Secession Convention, April 23, 1861)
In 1861 Virginia voted to secede from the Union and to fight with the Confederacy against the "enemies of the institution" of slavery . This is the history Confederate names honor. Please choose the courage to acknowledge this past, without extending it, for the future of Fairfax.

Clayton about 2 months ago

Street considerations for renaming: my humble suggestion is: Rolling Stone Avenue.

Emina Wilhelmina about 2 months ago

The naming of this neighborhood and it’s streets after Confederate iconography in the early 1960s, at a time of resistance in the state of Virginia to the national movement for racial equality and integration in schools, had everything to do with sending a racist message to potential buyers that this neighborhood was intended for white residents only. To retain these names now in 2022 continues to send a racist message - that white residents would rather hold on to a racist past and claim it had some other intent, rather than acknowledge it is racist, and move forward now with positive change.

To quote the great-great-grandchildren of John Mosby in their letter in support of the name change of Mosby Woods Elementary School, “the symbols and history of the Confederacy have been so effectively misrepresented and co-opted by proponents of white supremacy that there can be no justification for “honoring” Confederate military figures by displaying monuments of them or having roads or schools named after them.”

Ron Frerker about 2 months ago

I live on a street that is considered for a name change. All of these street names have main connotations according to dictionary that are “NOT” specifically related to untold deeds done during our history.
Example: Ranger: A ranger is a person who takes care of a park or a piece of land.
Raider: a soldier specially trained for close-range fighting.
Plantation: an area in which trees have been planted
Believe it or not but even confederate is a noun a person one works with, especially in something secret or illegal, an accomplice.
I vote for keeping the names that have been in place for over 60 years. Erasing history or our heritage does not make for a more inclusive world.

happyresident about 2 months ago
Page last updated: 22 Jun 2022, 08:17 AM