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

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On July 12, 2022, City Council voted to change the names of 14 streets as recommended by the Stakeholder Advisory Group. Watch the meeting.

UPDATE July 12, 2022: City Council voted to change 14 street names. Watch the meeting. If you would like to submit names for consideration, please complete the survey

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 July 12, 2022: City Council voted to change 14 street names. Watch the meeting. If you would like to submit names for consideration, please complete the survey

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. 

On July 12, 2022, City Council voted to change the names of 14 streets as recommended by the Stakeholder Advisory Group. Watch the meeting.

My wife and I were unable to vote on the MW street name change poll due to being out of town so please accept these brief comments as our two votes as MW home owners. Yes, to changing Reb. No homes on that connecting street. Yes, to Plantation. Although the home owners on that street aught to have the final word as they will have to shoulder the burdens, both financial and time consuming, that the city (all Fairfax tax payers) do not take care of such as wills, trusts and other legal documents. No, to all other street name changes and no, to changing the name of our community.
As an alternative, please consider changing the name of Plantation between Fairfax Blvd and the intersection of Ranger.
Thank you.

Will about 2 years ago

We live in Mosby woods, Antietam avenue, relatively new to the neighborhood and Virginia buying a home 8 years ago. We moved here after a 30 year army career and moved here as empty nesters so lots of changes in our lives. Admittedly, the names of the streets were a little unsettling and landing on Antietam somewhat ironic as my wife and I both went to high school in Maryland near Antietam. Our initial impression of fairfax and northern Virginia was positive but were taken aback by the vast memorialization of the confederacy history. Additionally after we had settled, we hosted a dinner party for some long time army family friends and as they navigated their way through Mosby woods to our home they entered by asking what kind of backwards neighborhood do you live in? The street names, starting with plantation as our entry way seemed outdated and offensive to them as did confederate to name a few.
We would welcome changes to any or all the street names within Mosby woods so as to never have visitors come to our home and have that same reaction again.

Irish mike about 2 years ago

Projects like this name change proposal are a disgrace and help to erode and even destroy our original cultural and heritage. I would think Fairfax government would have spent much better use of their time than to dwell on ridiculous projects like this asinine name change proposal. Obviously, some of our historic figures were no angels and some advocated slavery, however, I'm sure you could NOT equate their actions and personalities to figures like: Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and Saddam Husein.

PLEASE LEAVE THE NAMES, OUR CULTURAL, AND OUR HERITAGE INTACT!!!

CONCERNED US PATRIOT about 2 years ago

I strongly oppose the changing of street names. Erasing history does not change history.

jcw about 2 years ago

Leave the street names alone. They are part of history and everyone can't be happy (with anything). Do not cater to a vocal minority regarding an issue that is less than some would have you believe.

Ping about 2 years ago

On too many leveIs to list here, I oppose renaming the streets on the list and other faddish, futile efforts to erase history.

The Council's stated goals of inclusivity, equity, and diversity would actually coerce exclusion, favoritism and homogeneity.


Just one other level: I have ancestors who fought and suffered on both sides in the Civil War -- a couple of individuals fought, alternatively, on both sides -- all because the US legislature failed to resolve the issue of the day. We ought not forget.

Enoch about 2 years ago

I support the renaming of the streets on the list. I think they should be renamed to natural features or landmarks, rather than to other people or causes. Nobody is up in arms over Little River Turnpike, for instance. Making street names more neutral will be less divisive than exchanging one person’s name for another.

Jeff about 2 years ago

Leave the street names as it is. Changing a street name ain't gonna fix racism. It's mostly white people with a savior complex trying to change it, i doubt the POC even give a damn.

Anti Lib about 2 years ago

I really do not think it is necessary to rename any of these streets, but I especially object to renaming Lee Highway. Lee Highway is an old and historic, multi-state major US highway. Renaming a part of it in Northern Virginia will firstly, only eradicate the name from a small portion of the whole, and secondly and more importantly, erase a part of motoring history. Renaming this road seems akin to renaming the Lincoln Highway, another old and historic US route.

Cory J about 2 years ago

"The goal is to connect the present to a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors."

How much taxpayer money was wasted on the ideation, brainstorming, synergizing, fine tuning, refining, drafting, re-writing, imaging, and green lighting this vacuous non-thought?

I would very much prefer that our local government drop this empty posturing and focus on improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of services and reduce the public debt.

jont about 2 years ago

Is the City of Fairfax looking into changing its name too? The city was named after Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron who was a well known slave owner and derived much of his income from this.

Equity about 2 years ago

It can be hard for many of our us, who grew up with certain street and place names and may now associate them with the nostalgia of earlier years, to reconcile ourselves to the fact that these place names were originally chosen to honor and glorify specific individuals and concepts. This is true for both the more obvious ones (Lee, Confederate, Mosby, etc.) as well as the less obvious (like Traveler, deliberately named for Lee’s horse…i.e., as part of a broader effort to honor its owner — or Ranger, which in the context of “Mosby Woods” was named specifically to memorialize “Mosby’s Rangers.”). It is also true that change is hard, and that it takes courage to lead real, positive change.

I fear that the upcoming public meetings on this issue may well devolve into frustrations, anger, or tempers by those who are fed up with these efforts at change. Therefore I prefer to make my voice heard on this comment site. I applaud and recognize the need for such public meetings, even if I fear they could provide a convenient way to vent popular anger by those who are opposed to change.

I also recognize that the effort to learn, poll, and explore the issue has now taken nearly two years. It is by now time to embrace modernizing Fairfax in a way that is increasingly welcoming to all. Please take the right steps to divest this city from its past honoring of the Confederacy — history which we will continue to learn and remember, yet should refuse to glorify with place names that highlight and thereby honor the Confederate cause.

Mosby Woods neighbor about 2 years ago

I agree with one of the comments that has been made. Changing names does not change history. History is what it is. A lot of people, particularly those of us who grew up in small towns and rural areas, are sentimental about where we lived and grew up. I was born and grew up on Miller Lane in Tennessee. I have no idea who the road was named for. At 17, I moved to Massachusetts Avenue in D.C. , then Cleveland Street in Arlington, then here in Fairfax where I have been in 1962. I often mention those past places to friends, family, and acquaintances. I am attached to those places and names. I don't think of them as Republican, Democrat, South, North, black or white, only places that have meaning for me.
I don't want them changed. How could I describe where I lived.
On a practical side, no one that I know wants their taxes raised. What is the cost of changing street signs, articles and books with references to these street names, maps that will need to be redrawn. There are legal documents used when trying to get in touch with witnesses to a person's will. Where you lived and live is part of who you ae. Did you mind the street names when you moved to your current homes? I guess not or you wouldn't still be there.

Change for Change Sake is not good. Who gets to vote on this issue?

Jane about 2 years ago

I strongly support the name changes of the streets and neighborhoods. These names reflect the power and privilege of individuals in Confederate history who had the ability to tell their stories and honor their legacy, primarily because of their race, caste, and economic status. Changing the street names does not change that history. But changing these names reflects our collective decision to move forward as a community who remembers its past but does not glorify racism and its horrific atrocities and human rights violations. Now is the time for us to make this change. If not now, when?

Kate about 2 years ago

We live in the Mosby Woods neighborhood and strongly support the name change recommended in the Stakeholder Advisory Group's final report. These Confederate-related street/place names are insensitive, divisive, and outdated. Thus, we look forward to seeing better/neutral names that accurately reflect America's modern values/standards and that make people in and outside of the community feel comfortable, safe, and respected (rather than offended/ threatened/ embarrassed). We love our friendly neighborhood and living in the diverse, thoughtful community of the City of Fairfax. However, seeing the street corner sign of "Plantation Pkwy & Confederate Ln" everyday reminds us that there is still work to be done. As more brutal racial injustice incidents emerged in recent years, it makes us very uncomfortable to live surrounded by these insensitive names. We urge the City to foster positive change and work toward "a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors."

Mako about 2 years ago

Please change the street names to something that better reflects the inclusivity and community that the City of Fairfax represents. The name change is long overdue considering how Northern Virginia has become one of the most diverse communities in the country. Many other communities have been challenging and have rectified racially insensitive names. These racially insensitive names make us extremely uncomfortable after witnessing recent examples of racial injustice. We urge the City of Fairfax to consider the name change that the current and future generation will thank us for.

Ryan about 2 years ago

The street names in Mosby Woods were selected to commemorate and glorify the old south and the Jim Crow area. As such, I find them highly offensive and it’s long past time to change them. Please change them to reflect more inclusive names and values. It’s time we let go of old names that justify a terrible war against so many Americans.

JFinley about 2 years ago

I am writing as a member of the Mosby Woods community, living on Traveler Street. Please let me preface this message by saying I was born in “the south’, to parents who were both born and grew up in “the north”, and I was raised in an environment that promoted love, grace, acceptance, understanding, fairness and inclusion. As an adult I taught in an ‘inner city” public school, spending seven years with students and their parents and fellow teachers who were from multi-ethnic origins. The lessons I learned from my parents were paramount in my success as a teacher, peer and, in many cases as time went on, a friend. I understand and appreciate the need to change anything, be it a name, statue, marker or section of a “learning tool”, that symbolizes or suggests racism, prejudice or intimidation. When discussions began on renaming Mosby Woods and associated street names it was clear there would be varying opinions of what names should be considered for change. Watching the video recording of the City Council Work Session, specifically the implementation process for the City Seal, Monuments and Street Names, I understand and respect the need to change government identifiers, markers and names within the City of Fairfax. Reviewing the proposed list of names the City is considering for change, I reviewed “The Glossary of Civil War Terms” (published by the American Battlefield Trust - an organization that “preserves America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educates the public about what happened there and why it matters.” The list of terms did not include the name ‘Traveler’. Referencing Webster’s dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus and a ‘Yahoo’ search of the word Traveler, definitions are as follows: one who makes a journey, tourists, passenger/rider, wayfarer. There is no reference to “Traveler” being a civil war general’s horse or any reference to the civil war. Residents of the 11 homes on Traveler Street include 3 families who ‘traveled’ here from other countries, several families who routinely ‘travel’ for work or pleasure and/or have family members from other states or countries who ‘travel’ here to visit them. What better name for our street than “Traveler” … or perhaps Travelers…? Based on its definition, word ‘Traveler’ is not “profane, obscene, offensive, ethnically, socially or racially offensive or disparaging. That Being Said, I am requesting the City Council consider removing the name of Traveler Street from its list of Mosby Woods street names that have been recommended for change or, as you have proposed to do with the City Seal, monuments and markers, simply ‘modify’ our street name to ‘Travelers Street. I thank all on the City Council for their dedication and the time each invests in making the City of Fairfax a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all who live and work here! Respectfully Submitted, C.M. Andrews - 3206 Traveler Street, Fairfax (703-517-1995)

CMA over 2 years ago

Changing street names in Mosby Woods represents nothing. History will not be changed by a street name. For example what does the word “Plantation” mean? Look it up, it’s a piece of land where consumer goods are grown. People need to focus on not dividing our country by looking at everything as racist.

Think over 2 years ago

As a resident of Scarlet Circle, I am against changing this street name. This should not represent anything controversial. It is a color.

TDizzyus over 2 years ago