By : Kevin Peterson
4 min read
Citing that the nearly 250 year-old Boston icon is a symbol of anti-Black racism, the New Democracy Coalition is organizing a protest on Wednesday, August 10, to raise awareness about the persistence of racism and to the need to change the name of Faneuil Hall.
"We try not to call this building Faneuil Hall. Instead, we call it Slave Traders Hall because the building is named after a slave owner. Peter Faneuil was a white supremacist and a person who believed in profiting from the slave trade. His name doesn't deserve to be on a public building," said the Rev. Kevin Peterson, founder of the New Democracy Coalition.
Peterson's organization has been leading the fight to change the name of Faneuil Hall since 2017. But powerful forces who believe that the current name is harmless have been resistant, including former Mayor Marty Walsh. Over the years Peterson has called for the name change as a form of addressing this issue of reparations and creating an "environment in Boston where we can truly address the issue of systemic racism."
"On August 10th we will continue our unending effort to change the name of Faneuil Hall because its name represents racial terrorism. We in this city would never stand for a building being called Hitler Hall. That would be an insult to all of us. Why then we tolerate having the name of a publicly owned building named after a racist," added Peterson.
The New Democracy Coalition group says that of the 140 businesses at the Faneuil Hall Quincy Marketplace, none are owned by Black people.
"Economic aparthied happens at the so-called Faneuil Hall. By changing the name we address the issue of who we are as Bostonians. We must not tolerate racism.”
The New Democracy Coalition recently won a battle around anti-racism by convincing the Boston City Council to official apologive for slavery in Boston.
"These symbolic victories add up to a fuller narrative of freedom."
The Faneuil Hall protest will begin at 11AM at the flagpole on the plaza of Boston city hall on August 11th. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
—The New Democracy Coalition
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #149 August 2022
Check out all the art and columns of August's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass