BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez announced Tuesday that Cottonwood Road will now be called South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, a move she hopes brings new momentum to the historically Black neighborhood.
“As many of us know, this community has deep roots of Black excellence,” Perez said in a news release. “Not only does the renaming of this street honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but it is also my hope that this will serve as a catalyst for the
much needed change that this community so desperately deserves.”
A renaming ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at 1600 E. Belle Terrace.
Perez announced the change in coordination with Kern County Public Works, Councilman Eric Arias, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and local activist Arleana Waller.
The street name isn’t the only thing that has changed in the community.
In the past year, a new Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School opened, renovations were made to Belle Terrace Park and new sidewalks and streetlights were installed in surrounding areas, the release said.
“There is power in the name Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Waller, found and CEO of MLK CommUnity Initiative, said in the release.
“It is powerful, historic, transformational and is and has always been about economic power,” she said. This street name change is giving a power shift to the southeast, working hand-in-hand with the county, city, private sector and the community the same way Dr. King did.”