Swastika, New York, Is Keeping Its Name


There's a debate in this country over symbols and statues and place names that are tied toe white supremacy. So what to do about a small community in rural northern New York? Called swastika. This summer visitor proposed just changing the name, but local officials opposed the idea. Julia Richie from North Country Public Radio explains why Michael Al Kamo lives in New York City but loves visiting the Adirondack Mountains and upstate New York to cycle through its tiny towns and Hamlets and past historical cemeteries. He was on a trip like this winding through a remote stretch this summer when he noticed something else. Suddenly I came to a town called Watch. The Hamlets name was printed on a small brown street sign. He says he found the name jarring and disrespectful to Veterans of World War two, some of whom are buried in graves nearby, So I think it should be obvious that the town Should update its name and should pick a name that is not so offensive to so many Americans and so emblematic of intolerance, hate and tyranny. So al Comer reached out to county officials in August to see if they would consider it. He was soon directed to email the town of Black Brooke. Which has jurisdiction over swastika. The town agreed to add it to the agenda for their September meeting. And after about five minutes of discussion, the town's for counselors unanimously voted against it. So basically Was named by the founders of the area that settled there. That's black Brooke Supervisor John Douglas, who was at the meeting but didn't have a vote. None of the counsellors returned to request for comment. Douglas Saysthe Hamlets named far predates World War two and came from the Sanskrit word meaning well being the foresighted geometric character that represents the swastika has been used for thousands of years in Indian religions and seen as a symbol of good luck. Of course, That meeting was overshadowed beginning in the 19 thirties with the rise of Adolf Hitler, who co opted the swastika as a symbol for Nazism and anti Semitism. Douglas says. This is not the first time the Hamlets name has been scrutinized. There was concern that due to the Germans that everything that people may I have a different outlook on the name and some of the residents that were from that area actually fought or two and refused to change the name just because Hitler tried to tarnish the meaning of swastika. Douglas says the council didn't see a reason to change the name despite its widespread use as a symbol of hate and white supremacy today, I think that probably Maybe some viewpoint that it's associated with a butt that I believe there's others that do not associate it with. Hey, did the Hindus in the booth and All them today erase it from their religious history because of the Germans, Al Kamo. The cyclists who submitted the request was disappointed by the town's reaction. I didn't expect a quick, apparently quick, unanimous vote to reject the proposal. Social media response to the decision has been murkier, with some locals of the region bristling on Facebook at an outsider from New York City trying to meddle in rural affairs. But Malcolm Oh says he simply wants more people to see the Adirondacks for its natural beauty and deep history history, he says, at odds with the meaning of swastika today

Coming up next