By Andrea Pineda-Salgado
When you walk down 68th Street in Manhattan between Park and Lexington Avenues you will soon notice it has a new name: Audre Lorde Way. Audre Lorde was an acclaimed Black lesbian feminist, writer and activist, as well as a Hunter College alum. Last year we told you about Jacqueline Brown, associate professor of anthropology at Hunter, who, along with the Audre Lorde Collective, was on a quest to have Hunter College’s West Building renamed after Lorde. Over a year later, their efforts are finally bearing fruit.
For the past year and a half, Brown, the Audre Lorde Collective and Hunter College students had been pressuring CUNY’s administration to approve the renaming of the West Building in honor of Lorde. The campaign attracted the attention of activists and writers such as Angela Davis and Roxane Gay. While the building itself was not renamed, the street it is located on will be.
To Brown, the woman who has been at the forefront of it all, this means a lot. But she said, there is still work to be done.
“I think that it’s wonderful, but not sufficient,” Brown said. “I hope that naming the street after Audre will result in people actually engaging with what she meant to this institution. Anything that will attract attention to Audre’s work in the world is a good thing, but I would argue that there needs to be more.”
Although it wasn’t the building that was renamed, the street will be a visual marker that tells New Yorkers and Hunter College students: Audre was here. The street will ensure that more New Yorker’s will be reminded of Audre’s legacy, a legacy that according to Brown, is still relevant today.
“[Audre] wanted us to recognize difference as something that could be a powerful force in the world,” Brown said. “I have to be able to hear what people who are different from me have to say about their experiences. And then we have to work together to change–change society, change laws, change ways of thinking. We have to work together. We cannot, we cannot be only concerned about our own little group.”
Brown and the Audre Lorde Collective will continue to fight for the Hunter College West Building to be renamed. You can sign their petition here. You can write a letter to CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez stating your support of the building being renamed and email it to Brown.