Monuments and masks dominated much of the Key West City Commission discussion at the Sept. 16 meeting, where officials voted to rename a Confederate park pavilion and add exceptions to the city’s mask rules.
Key West lawmakers last week voted unanimously to rename a pavilion in Bayview Park that was built in 1924 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The pavilion, which sits among other military memorials, will be called the One Human Family pavilion in honor of the city’s official motto, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in October.
“We don’t want to forget our history,” said Commissioner Sam Kaufman, who introduced the renaming proposal that was approved at the Sept. 16 meeting. “We want to remember and learn from it. I think this is a positive thing.”
Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover pointed out that the newly renamed pavilion could become “a new field trip for school kids, because we do have some dark parts of our history that cannot be ignored.”
Longtime Key West resident JT Thompson, who created the city’s One Human Family motto under the mayorship of Jimmy Weekley in 2000, also supports the name change.
“We’re not erasing history with this, but rather making a statement about where we are now,” Thompson said.
When the city’s One Human Family was adopted 20 years ago, Thompson created a website and educational foundation to provide free bumper stickers and bracelets bearing the motto. More than a million stickers have been distributed worldwide.
“Although people may tell you it’s ‘us versus them,’ there is no ‘them,’” Thompson wrote on the website. “The conclusion is simple, obvious and undeniable. We are all created equal members of One Human Family.”
In other commission news, officials on Sept. 16 rewrote the city’s mask rules to include additional exceptions. Masks are no longer required when “individuals are outdoors and not on the premises of a business, provided social distancing is maintained at all times,” and they’re not required in gyms during strenuous exercise if distance is maintained. The city previously had allowed couples exchanging wedding vows and being photographed during their wedding to remove their masks, and musicians can go without if they are performing more than 10 feet from the audience and behind a plexiglass partition.