We, the undersigned, support legislation that would rename Donald J. Trump State Park to Heather D. Heyer State Park. New York State has always been known for its history of welcoming and embracing people of all cultures and backgrounds. The strength of our diversity and the values we hold high are even reflected in the state's park system. According to the Declaration of Policy of the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, parks should foster and strengthen the sense of purpose, well-being and identity of the citizens of this state. The names of these public parks and green spaces should embody the goals of uplifting and unifying New Yorkers. For these reasons, we believe Donald J. Trump State Park should be renamed.
Across the nation, we have spoken out against the policy proposals the Trump Administration has put forth that are discriminatory, divisive, and misguided. Since January 2017, we have organized protests and rallies in defense of our values while pledging to uphold progress that has taken place on the local level. Among us are young Americans like Heather D. Heyer, whose life was taken away at the hands of white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville, Virginia. The events that unfolded in Charlottesville are a reminder that the work ahead requires us to stand united in the face of hate. It was for this reason that Heather, who worked as a paralegal, had joined so many others that day to push back against the rise in racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic rhetoric that has no place in our communities.
As we move forward, it is important to recognize those who embody these values and their contributions. We believe that re-naming Donald J. Trump State Park to Heather D. Heyer State Park would not only honor her name and her activism, but serve as a reminder of how important it is for us to denounce those who seek to divide us.