ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – From slavery to self-sacrifice: Roberto Clemente’s legacy is now rooted in Florida House District 48 twofold–both on a middle school and now a street–edging out the longtime presence and name of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City Commissioner Tony Ortiz unveiled the Roberto Clemente Road street sign Wednesday surrounded by fellow elected officials–including State Rep. Daisy Morales, community leaders, and dozens in the community.
Other public officials present included Orlando District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart, Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Orange County School Board Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins, and Orange County School Board member Johanna Lopez. Other attendees included aides for Congressman Darren Soto and Orange County District 4 Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero, and Orange County Democratic Party president Wes Hodge.
The Orange County School Board voted to change the Stonewall Jackson Middle School name in honor of the Puerto Rican baseball MVP back in September of 2020, an outcome years in the making.
Community leader and activist Zoraida Rios-Andino shared a brief history of the process with FNN News, stating that she and several activists began the push for the name change–all on an unpaid volunteer basis, but many of her colleagues moved to other states. In more recent years, Alianza for Progress, an organization that supports for Hispanic community, got behind the project and helped carry it to completion. Alianza president Marcos Vilar also delivered remarks Wednesday honoring Roberto Clemente.
All who spoke during the unveiling, including Clemente’s son Luis Roberto Clemente, who flew to Orlando from Pennsylvania, shared the same sentiment: adding the middle school name and now street name ensures that Roberto Clemente’s life of service and self-sacrifice will be forever retold and remembered in the City of Orlando.
“No more Stonewall Jackson Middle School or road sign in Florida House District 48,” State Rep. Morales told FNN News at the unveiling. Removing the Confederate General’s name is an important step for accurate history and decency.
She later posted on Facebook:
“I applaud the leadership at the Orange County School Board and the Orlando City Commission for voting to rename the school and road in honor of Puerto Rican Baseball Hall Of Famer Roberto Clemente. The ideas for the school and road name change have been in process for years. I commend the community organizers for their hardwork and dedication for taking on this project.”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com