A committee established by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser identified over 150 structures, monuments, and buildings – including the Washington Monument and a high school named after the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell – that deserve to be “renamed, removed, or contextualized.”
Of the 1,330 named properties in Washington, D.C., 153 were identified as “problematic” – nearly 12 percent.
To identify a building, landmark, street name, or other property as warranting offense, members of the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) committee considered factors such as the honoree’s “involvement in systemic racism” or “support for oppression.”
The entities targeted by DCFACES, established by Bowser in July, were far-reaching.
For example, DCFACES “recommended the Federal government remove, relocate, or contextualize” eight statues and memorials including the Washington Monument, a Benjamin Franklin statue, and a Christopher Columbus fountain:
Seven government buildings including one named after Francis Scott Key and 12 parks, fields, or playgrounds including three named after U.S. Presidents were identified as requiring a renaming. An additional nine residential buildings and campuses including three named after U.S. Presidents along with 21 public schools such as one named after the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell were also targetted by DCFACES.
To remedy the alleged injustice – “that more than 70% of assets named in the District of Columbia are named for white men, many of whom were not District residents” – DCFACES insisted Bowser “ensure future assets, especially and including those recommended for renaming by this Working Group, include more women, people of color and LGBTQ Washingtonians.”
And Bowser, who notoriously renamed the street outside the White House to “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” welcomed the suggestions, stating she “wanted to thank the chairs and members of the DCFACES working group, the committee staff, and the residents who participated in this process for their commitment to building a more inclusive Washington, DC.”
“The recommendations in this report will guide us as we move forward in advancing these shared DC values,” she emphasized.