'Keep Austin Weird Not Racist' group formed to push name change of Robert E. Lee Road

One Austin group is turning to social media to try and get Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin renamed.

Conversations about Confederate monuments and streets honoring the Confederacy have been part of an ongoing debate for days after the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

One Austin group, Keep Austin Weird Not Racist, is turning to social media to try and get Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin renamed.

The newly-formed Facebook group released a video to continue the push for a name change of Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin.

The trio behind the video all live on that very street.

"We thought it was the right time to bring this conversation forward,” Creator of Keep Austin Weird, Not Racist Guicho Flores said.

And with Austin City Council making moves to possibly strip the name-- Guicho Flores and his team decided it was time to vocalize their concerns.

"People are noticing, we didn't expect this," Co-creator Alfonso Ruiz said.

In the last 48 hours, there have been over 6,000 views.   

The creators say the purpose is to open up discussion, offering ideas on what the street could be renamed, something they feel reflects the true Austin.

One name the group suggest to rename it, Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, who lived in Austin.

Whatever the name, they want the community to speak up.

“Making little positive changes that make a chain reaction--we wanted to be part of the conversation,” Ruiz said.

But not everyone agrees change is necessary. Darwin Smith lives on Robert E. Lee Road, too.

He believes city council is acting too quickly on the matter.

"The proper way to deal with is to have a referendum of the community to vote on it,” Smith said.

He says the process itself isn't easy.

"There are more important things in the world for our politicians to be doing with their time,” Smith said.

Still, what's in a name means much more to this group.

"And I know it’s not going to be a drastic change. I know not all our nation’s problems won't go away by changing a street name but something that can do,” Flores added. 

City council Member Ann Kitchen is part of that application process to change the name, which is in her district. 

They will have to get approval from at least half of the property owners on Robert E Lee before the matter is heard by city council. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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