After several years, the involvement of numerous community organizations, and leaders at all levels of government, Robert E. Lee Road is now Buffalo Soldiers Road.
It has taken the State of Texas until 2019 to write that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War in our history curriculum; until 2020, to adopt an African American Studies course, and longer to remove Confederate plaques and monuments honoring the names and actions of slave traders, defenders of slavery, and traitors to our nation.
On June 23, El Paso City Council accepted my $1,500 donation dedicated to offset renaming expenses and voted to change the name to Buffalo Soldiers Road. This endeavor joins the efforts of Fort Bliss' Buffalo Soldier Gate and meets the Buffalo Soldier Monument commemorating the 1870 expedition by the all African American 9th Calvary that had a substantial presence on Fort Bliss.
As a community, we find ourselves in a pivotal moment where the opportunity to be actively anti-racist and work for equality is before us. We are called to respond, to improve life as we know it today, and leave the world always in a better state than which we found it.
As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right,” and that time is now. We can all begin by treating people with dignity, courtesy, and respect. Changing this street name to Buffalo Soldiers Road is a small step in the right direction.
Georgina C. Pérez