PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Newbold Neighbors Association in South Philadelphia changed its name this week.
For years the name has been a source of contention between longtime residents of Point Breeze and newer residents.
“Since this founding really, there’s been a lot of contention around that name,” says Miguel Garces, president of Newbold Neighbors, a non-profit civic association that deals with the area of Point Breeze spanning from 18th Street to Broad Street and from Washington Ave to Passyunk.
Garces says it’s been tough to diversify the group since many longtime residents, and some new, refused to join the group because it was called “Newbold.”
So members voted on Wednesday to change it to “East Point Breeze Neighbors” to be more inclusive.
“But we are not renaming the neighborhood,” says Garces. “People are free to call the neighborhood whatever they want– they can call it ‘Point Breeze’ or they can continue to use Newbold.”
Two attendees of the meeting made a very vocal objection to the name change. One of them is Rhumel Carr, a longtime Point Breeze resident. He called the new name a “divisive marketing scheme.”
“It’s classist,” he says, “like “East Point Breeze” is a better section of Point Breeze– it’s just point Breeze period. They just want to make it seem different to sell real estate.”
Sasha, who lives in the area services by East Point Breeze Neighbors, says many longtime residents feel left out.
“We don’t know about the meetings going on, we didn’t know about the name change,” she says, “it just feels like they want to change things– but don’t want our opinions.”
Garces says East Point Neighbors is working to change things.
“Right now, majority of our board tends to be White, newcomers who are really well meaning,” he says, “but we have one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city– and we want to take advantage of that and that means African Americans who have lived her a long time, Indonesians and Vietnamese too.”
Garces says they are putting their best foot forward to bring people together.