Roswell proposed street name change upsets some business owners

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Roswell wants to honor two civil rights icons by renaming streets after them, but not everyone supports changing the street names. That has some saying they’re racially biased.

Supporters of the movement say the changes will honor Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez, but some business owners say it will only cause problems.

Those street names could soon be placed on the street signs in place of South Main St. and Nevada St. in Roswell.

“I think the man was iconic leader, Cesar Chavez was an iconic leader, as Martin Luther King , Dr. King, was, you know they fought hard for civil rights , for justice, for all the things that effect every living America,” said Virginia Garcia from the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Garcia has been working hard to get the names changed, but she says so far it hasn’t been easy. She believes that the race of the men behind the two proposed street names may be the reason why and some of those against the move are “racially biased.”

“The attitude of the counsel that were opposed was really negative. Negative in a light that makes you concerned for little we have gained in all the, in the past what, 50 years,” said Garcia.

City council members aren’t the only ones opposed. Some local business owners have concerns as well, saying changes would have to be made to things like letterheads and business cards and so much more others haven’t thought of.

“You also have the hassles of going through each motor vehicle, the registration, following that through with the State of New Mexico as well as you’re in a database for you know, federal documents, reports, state reports,” said Guy Tate, a local business owner.

Garcia says she hears business concerns and is willing to work on finding some kind of compromise.

“When the business community spoke up, I felt like you know, but they were proposing other things to do with the names,” said Garcia.

The city says they don’t have an opinion on the change and it is an issue being handled by city council.

The debate over the name change has some trying to throw in other names as well like John Wayne or Ronald Regan who once visited Roswell. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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