Boston to officially change Yawkey Way to Jersey Street outside Red Sox's Fenway Park
The change has been in the works for some time but now it's official after a city panel vote
Back in February, the Red Sox , citing the club's "unfortunate and undeniable history ... with regard to race and integration ...". Under former owner Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox famously passed on a chance to sign Jackie Robinson and failed to integrate the roster until 1959 -- a full 12 years after Robinson debuted for the Dodgers.
On Thursday, a major step toward changing the name of Yawkey Way back to the original Jersey Street was taken, as, per the Associated Press, Boston's Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved the Red Sox's proposal. That means the name change will take place, and Yawkey Way -- in place since 1977 -- will be no more.
The Red Sox released the following statement pursuant to the Commission's vote:
"We are pleased with the outcome of today's hearing and thank the Public Improvements Commission for the time and attention they gave to this important matter.
Today's vote is an important step in our ongoing effort to make Fenway Park a place where everyone feels welcome. We recognize we have a long way to go, but remain committed to building a spirit of diversity, inclusivity, and openness within our front office and our ballpark. We look forward to working with the business and civic leaders of Boston to continue to bring about social change in our community.
We thank our neighbors for their support, and recognize and appreciate the members of the community who took the time to voice their opinions at the hearings."
Opposed to the decision are the Yawkey Foundation, the charitable trust named for Yawkey and his wife. "As we have said throughout this process, the effort to expunge Tom Yawkey's name has been based on a false narrative about his life and his historic 43-year ownership of the Red Sox," the trust responded. "The drastic step of renaming the street, now officially sanctioned by the city of Boston (and contradicting the honor the city bestowed upon Tom Yawkey over 40 years ago), will unfortunately give lasting credence to that narrative and unfairly tarnish his name."
In their original statement on the petition, the Red Sox cited the "incredible charitable work" on the part of the Foundation while still calling for change. Now, that change has come.
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