At OC Human Relations we seek to create a county where all people feel safe, valued and included. The recently publicized words of John Wayne stand in opposition to our vision and commitment to fighting hate and intolerance in the county and the continued choice to keep his name on the Orange County Airport reads as an acceptance of his bigoted comments.

While we recognize that all of us are more complex than can be represented by a single interview or quote, we must insist that it is time for Orange County to reckon with this bigotry and confront this hateful speech now memorialized at the airport.

We are an increasingly diverse county and symbols like this are not welcoming to so many who make Orange County their home. We should be a county where anyone and everyone can live free of discrimination and violence and the symbols we choose need to represent those values.

We support removing John Wayne from the name of the Orange County Airport, and beyond that, we support the examination of other symbols of racism and oppression locally and in our nation as part of a larger racial justice project.

If our nation is to move toward a future that rights the wrongs of racial injustice, we must be willing to face our past and wrestle with those truths. As our nation identifies and uproots symbols of exclusion, racism, oppression and genocide, we must too do our part by taking John Wayne’s name off of the Orange County Airport as one step in righting the wrongs of our past and eliminating intolerance and racism in our world.

-July 16, 2020