Denver Residents Want ‘RiNo’ Changed Back to ‘Five Points’
With the recent Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd has come a lot of reflection, and with that, renaming parks and neighborhoods to remove racially offensive names (like Columbus and Stapleton). Now, a change.org petition has been started to revert the River North Arts District 'RiNo' back to its original name, Five Points, an area east of I-25 and south of I-70 in Denver.
According to Colorado Encyclopedia, Five Points was the 'Harlem of the West,' and 'a vibrant Black community' until 'the population declined and businesses suffered after new housing laws made it possible for middle-class Blacks to find better housing elsewhere.' Read more here.
Now, most people call the area 'RiNo.' RiNo is a nonprofit organization centered around the arts, and a recent trendy development that Denver calls an 'interesting blend of urban charm and unique industrial revival' where warehouses and factories 'now house jazz bars, restaurants, brewpubs, art galleries and working studios.'
An example of one of RiNo's recent additions is Denver's new Mission Ballroom.
But, to some Denver residents, RiNo has also been seen as a gentrification of Denver's historically Black Five Points neighborhood. Shannon Martin of Denver started the petition to change the name, so that history isn't erased.
'While many of the neighborhoods and parks in Colorado have been renamed because of their racist and oppressive natures, the community and I believe that it is just as oppressive to rename a historically black neighborhood ANYTHING other than that,' Martin wrote in the petition that currently has over 5,000 signatures.
'It is enough that the neighborhood has been gentrified beyond belief, but further, the name change to 'RiNo District' is simply unacceptable in an effort to erase our history and culture,' Martin said.
You can see the full petition here.