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What’s In a Name?

June 21, 2020

George Floyd.

We owe so much to you.

Your tragic and wrongful murderous death has opened up conversation and debate on the nature and extent of racism.

I am reading the comments to news articles debating the changing of street names and towns named after persons who even centuries ago participated in atrocities and slavery.

There are those who say that in light of understanding who these people were and what they stood for, their namesake roads and towns should be renamed.

Others say it is too long ago to matter or believe that the names should stand believing we can’t change history.

Well, changing names is not about changing history, it is about considering what in history we seek to acknowledge, glorify or celebrate. That has current symbolic meaning.

Changing the names of these streets and towns is about righting historical wrongs and acknowledging the facts, not erasing them.

Changing the names is about a rededication to a future, a future built on celebrating the positive contribution of others and no longer denying or building on racist ways.

Oh but it costs money.

Yes, it does.

For me, money well spent.


Because BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Lives Matter.

When I walk on a road named for a slave trader, I am walking on those affected, their ancestors and descendants. In walking there, I am keeping them literally and figuratively underfoot.

I would not want that for my ancestors or descendants.

I would also want those who are the descendants of past atrocities to have a seat at the table, to be the ones whose voices influence such changes.

We cannot have racial harmony without such reparation. There is a price to pay for change.

For me, it’s worth it.

Lives take priority.

Black and Indigenous Lives Matter.

Thank you, George Floyd.

May your legacy be positive.

The status quo cannot or it’s symbols cannot stand.

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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

From → peacemaking

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