Orange County Democrats call for John Wayne Airport to be renamed
BY KAELAN DEESE - 06/27/20 12:52 PM EDT
Democratic officials in Orange County, Calif., are calling for John Wayne Airport to be renamed amid resurfacing racial comments the late Western movie star made decades ago.
On Friday, the Democratic Party of Orange County passed a resolution condemning the Duke for his past "racist and bigoted statements" he made during an interview with "Playboy" in 1971, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The resolution called for the Orange County Board of Supervisors to remove Wayne's name, statue, and other likenesses from the international airport and "restore its original name: Orange County Airport."
"There have been past efforts to get this done and now we're putting our name and our backing into this to make sure there is a name change," said Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County.
The resolution states that Wayne's removal is part of a much larger movement to remove "white supremacist symbols and names [that are] reshaping American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues, and teams," according to the resolution document.
"It is widely recognized that racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma particularly to Black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups," the resolution said, adding Orange County is more diverse than in 1979 when the airport was christened under Wayne's name.
Briceño said that the renaming could likely happen due to the changing party demographics of Orange County and the protests that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.
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"The numbers have grown since last year to where I believe we have something like 40,000 more Democrats than Republicans," Briceño said.
Another petition for renaming the airport has been posted online and has gained over 600 signatures.
The call for removing Wayne's likeness from the airport comes amid a resurfaced interview from the cowboy star, who was 63 at the time, saying: "I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people."