Renaming the Paseo

Anna Turnbull, Editor in Chief

Everyone’s heard it in the Tech N9ne song. The P.A.S.E.O. is the hot-spot to ride “not in the day though.” Perhaps it is time for that to change.

After years of debate, The Paseo Parkway has received a symbolic renaming. For about ten miles, Lexington Avenue to East 85th Street, The Paseo will now be called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. On Jan. 17, the Kansas City Council voted to change the name. After an hour of debate, eight out of the twelve council members approved the name change.

According to the Kansas City Star, out of the 30 percent of African Americans living in Kansas City, 70 percent live on the Paseo.

However some were tentative to naming this parkway after the African American staple.

The Paseo is known for high rates of poverty and gun violence. Thus, does The Paseo truly reflect on Martin Luther King’s hopes for the future? Would he want to see 28,000 African Americans suffering and segregated?

“Many people believe that it was built next to a shanty part of KC to become a distinct line between the poorer and richer parts of town.” said junior Alicia Stout. “We know that the majority of those who live east of the Paseo are African American, so I don’t think Martin Luther King would want his name on a street with that kind of history.”

 Although many disagree with this street being renamed, some believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would also see the hope and future of the road.

“I think it is important because Kansas City is one of the only major cities who doesn’t have a street named after him. I think it is important that it finally changed,” said the African American Scholars of Tomorrow sponsor Jessica Grider. “I understand why it was a controversial issue, but I think it is one of the things Kansas City will get used to overtime, and I do think it is a positive thing. Just having representation is important, and when you see a sign with someone’s name like that, I think it just gives you a sense of being important.”

Now instead of looking at the Paseo as a parkway of violence, it can be looked at as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the road of optimism for better experiences and a reminder of a symbolic character in African American history.