Commentary: Change versus inconvenience in Lewes

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”. He also said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but come through continuous struggle.”

It has always been understood that change never comes without pressure or opposition. Nevertheless, change must come.

It is no different of the request of the name change of West 4th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd that has been asked of the mayor and city council of Lewes.

It is unfortunate that one of the noted oppositions is said to be one of the common theme. Fear. In particular fear of an “administrative inconvenience” relating to actions one must take to update certain documents.

I wanted to find out just how much of an inconvenience this would actually be.

My research yielded the following results just by making a few phone calls:

  1. Driver’s Licenses – DMV call. Just complete a form, online in person or by mail. No cost.
  2. Driver’s Registrations – DMV call. It is not required by law to change when there is an address change. No cost.
  3. Passports – Call to passport office. It is not required to change due to an address change. Only required to renew every 10 years.
  4. Deeds, etc. – Called local lawyer’s office. These documents are based on the tax map number, so even if a street name changes 10 times, there is no requirement to update these documents. No cost.
  5. Bank Accounts, Insurance Documents, etc. – Called or visited each. Just complete a form, online in person, or by mail. No cost.
  6. Post Office – Stopped by and asked. Just complete a form, online, in person, or by mail. No cost. So basically, in most cases, there is the relatively small inconvenience of a phone call and the stroke of an ink pen or no change at all. It takes more time to complete a crossword puzzle than to do what has been noted as so inconvenient as an excuse not to move forward. It would be so easy to sweep history to another street, park or building, as some have suggested. But that is not the West 4th Street area’s history.

There are three other streets available for any other group or organization to propose in the future if need be, however, this is the street that the Rev. Edwards and Friendship Baptist Church proposed several years ago and who donated land to the city many years prior to that to create access to the West 4th extension.

This request may be news to some, however, it is not news to all. It has just taken this long for city council to act. The people who proposed the street name change have not forgotten. A question was also asked, “Why not rename West 4th Street to a local’s name?” There would be so many that it would take two more years to decide which local to name to choose. This request that was so thoughtfully presented to mayor and city council represents and symbolizes the West 4th Street’s history.

In addition, we should stop thinking that Dr. King’s street name is only in “certain cities” in “certain areas.” This inaccurate yet ingrained perception requires a heart change and who better to change it other than the First Town, in the First State. Of course we won’t be the first in the state to have a street named after Dr. King, but it certainly will be a first in the history for Lewes.

This is an opportunity to show Sussex County, all of Delaware, and yes, the entire nation that our town is not fearful to embrace and recognize the many contributions that African Americans have made to the West 4th Street community by naming a street after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Finally, I would be more than willing to assist anyone (especially seniors) who may find the process of making updates difficult. I will personally drive them anywhere they need to go in order to make the transition a much easier inconvenience.

Trina Brown-Hicks is a resident of Lewes.