Fredericksburg addresses its response to protests, Route 1 name change

The Fredericksburg City Council has passed a three-phase plan to address racial inequality and respond to the recent protests. 

For the past three weeks, protestors have taken to the streets of Fredericksburg calling for police reform and highlighting the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. 

“We as a council are making a commitment to listen and to make real, lasting change,” Mayor Katherine Greenlaw said. 

The response and recovery plan the council passed has three phases: immediate (next three to six weeks), intermediate (June through the end of August), and strategic planning (September through January). 

In the first phase, the next couple of weeks will be a continuation of incident response and emergency management. An incident management team will be formalized and start meeting regularly as well.

The goals of this phase include a complete review of the use of force from May 31 into the first week of June. A review by the Citizens Advisory Panel and a Professional Standards investigation is set to investigate incidents involving teargas and use of force.

An independent review of the Fredericksburg police use of force was largely requested in the nearly two hours of citizen comment time at the June 23 meeting.

In the second intermediate phase, the council plans to work on “actionable proposals” and criminal justice reform.  

Finally, in the third phase, the council will focus on “laying the groundwork” to address racial inequality throughout Fredericksburg. This will be a focus of discussion at the October council retreat.

There will be “whole of community” meetings that will allow community stakeholders to provide input on addressing racial divisions. 

“They’re things that happen all the time that can be fixed,” said Ward 4 Representative Charlie Frye. 

The renaming of Jefferson Davis Highway was also a discussion point. 

All members of the city council expressed their support for the renaming of Jefferson Davis Highway. 

“I’m going to ask that in July we consider a resolution that supports a name change,” said At-Large Representative Kerry Devine.  

The city can rename the portion of the highway that runs through its borders, but they have to go through the Commonwealth Transportation Board for approval.

“I don’t think we should wait for [the state], I think we should be leaders for our region, and maybe the state will follow,” said Ward 3 Representative Timothy Duffy. 

The council at this point hasn’t decided on a particular name to change Jefferson Davis Highway to. 

“I think its critically important that we take opportunities to name things in our community after people who have served at pivotal times in our history,” said At-Large Representative Matthew Kelly. 

Should the highway be renamed, the businesses that are located along it would need to change their addresses to reflect the new name. 

“Even though we want to do this quickly, we have to make sure that we give the businesses time to do all the things they need to do,” Ward 2 Representative Wililam Withers said. 

In response, Greenlaw said, “We’ll find a way to help them with that too.”

In nearby Prince William County, Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Franklin on June 16 called for renaming the portion of Route 1 between Quantico and Occoquan.

Most of U.S. Route 1 in Virginia is named for Davis, who was president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. Portions of the highway, including a half-mile section of the roadway in Falmouth, and the portion of the highway that runs through Fairfax County, is named Cambridge Street and Richmond Highway, respectively.

15 thoughts on “Fredericksburg addresses its response to protests, Route 1 name change

  1. If the name change is approved, my suggestion is Doris Buffet Highway. She has been a tremendous philanthropist in the Fredericksburg community.

    1. That would be appropriate! But who covers all the costs for all these changes? And are the Police going to be part of the committee to make changes? I don’t see anything positive coming out of this without the input of our fine Officers!

  2. No do not change history and if you do nothing will be learned and history will repeat itself because it was erased

  3. The actions of this City Council are a disgrace. They are kowtowing to a bunch of bullies who do not represent the majority in this city. They are turning their backs on the law-abiding citizens of this city and allowing the mob to rule. They were elected to represent ALL citizens, and I look forward to future elections to hold each and every member accountable for their cowardly actions.

    1. Yes, there will be consequences. Maybe I can concider
      running for a council seat when up for reelection!

  4. The actions of this City Council are a disgrace. They are kowtowing to a bunch of bullies who do not represent the majority in this city. They are turning their backs on the law-abiding citizens of this city and allowing the mob to rule. They were elected to represent ALL citizens, and I look forward to future elections to hold each and every member accountable for their cowardly actions.

  5. This is disgraceful. The 911 call regarding a mother with children in her car that feared for her safety and that of her children and told that City Council had was not allowing police protection during a protest absolutely sicken me. If this is what they want, go for it. If they change the name from Fredericksburg, Then it’s not Fredericksburg and I’m not spending a dime in your city.

  6. Another thing Bkack Lives Matters is directly related to Hamas. Fact check that one. Yes they most certainly want to wipe out American History. It’s time for the protesters to go home and get a job. Stop pussyfooting around these as wipe degenerates.

  7. When you change that name you can send me one of them signs. Jeff Davis is hero. The South will rise again!

  8. I am absolutely against removing statues and changing names. You decision makers better really look at the tourism aspect of what you’re allowing to happen. History plays a huge role in drawing tourists to Virginia. Next, the Civil War trails and reenactments will be banished, along with Christianity. This has gone too far.

  9. Seems to me like we are negotiating with terrorists on our own soil…. I thought we had strict policies for that???? This is truly a disgrace to erase Virginia’s extensive history which some have already pointed out is a large part of our tourism appeal. I am ashamed of our politicians for agreeing to these outrageous demands.

  10. As a history major, I understand that history often gets told in the oppressors point of view, I feel like we have evolved past that enough to understand that all sides of history need to be understood and heard in order to get a clear picture of the past. Sadly these monuments, street signs, etc..only tell one side of the past, and bring painfull memmories to others lawful citizens who also have lived in the area for generations. History should be learned through peer reviewed articles, books, and museums where the complexity of the past can be discussed without a bias. I believe people are protesting from a place of hurt and not just mob mentality. I feel like the christian thing to do is to be empathetic and not defensive.

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