Virginia Couple Pushes for Change to Creek's Racially Offensive Name - NBC4 Washington

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Virginia Couple Pushes for Change to Creek's Racially Offensive Name

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Couple Changes Virginia Creek's Racially Offensive Name

    A couple who runs a nonprofit in Virginia purchased land in Fauquier County to expand its operation. But they discovered a creek with a racially offensive name runs through the property. Drew Wilder reports they got the state to agree to a name change. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019)

    A couple who runs a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for disabled veterans was elated when they discovered more than 30 acres for sale in southern Fauquier County, Virginia.

    "When I saw it, I was like ... 'we’ve gotta figure out how to get this place,'" said Amanda Baity, who runs Semper K9 Assistance Dogs with her husband Chris Baity.

    The property had room for them to build an 8,000 square-foot facility and even had a creek running through it.

    But after they bought the land, the Baitys had one big problem: the creek's name.

    "I found that it was 'Negro Run' and I was offended. Immediately,” Baity said.

    Fauquier County sent News4 two historical maps of the property. On one map dated 1943, the creek has no name. But on another from 1949, the creek bears another racial term that many would consider more offensive than the word "negro."

    “I did not want to have anything derogatory or negative associated with where our headquarters was going to be,” Baity said.

    The Baitys went to the county and the state to push for a name change.

    “There was some pushback from organizations within the community that wanted to keep it the same name as a learning experience,” Baity said.

    But after 18 months, the creek has a new name: Courage Creek.

    The Baitys say they chose the name "Courage" for those who might’ve endured racism on the land, for those who have served our country and for the veterans brave enough to know when to ask for help.

    Semper K9 Assistance Dogs hopes to break ground on its new headquarters next spring.

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