Democratic officials in Orange County, California, are calling for the name of the John Wayne Airport to be changed amid a revival of comments the late western movie star made decades ago.
On Friday, the Orange County Democratic Party passed a resolution condemning the Duke for “racist and bigoted statements” he made during an interview with “Playboy” in 1971, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The resolution called for the Orange County Board of Supervisors to remove Wayne’s name, statue and other images from the international airport and “restore his original name: Orange County Airport.”
“Efforts have been made in the past to accomplish this and now we are putting our name and our support behind it to make sure there is a name change,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Orange County Democratic Party.
The resolution states that the name change is part of a broader movement to eliminate “white supremacist symbols and names.” [that are] reshaping American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues, and teams. “
“It is widely recognized that racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma, particularly for black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups,” says the resolution, adding that Orange County is more diverse than it is. It was when the airport was named Wayne in 1979.
Briceño said the name change could occur due to the party’s demographic changes in Orange County and the protests that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.
“The numbers have increased from last year to where I think we have about 40,000 more Democrats than Republicans,” Briceño said.
Another petition to rename the airport has been published online and has obtained more than 600 signatures.
The call to remove Wayne’s image from the airport comes amid a revived interview in which the star, who was 63 at the time, said: “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are brought up at a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people. “