Take Back Oak Lawn responded to the controversy about renaming Oak Lawn Park. To retain Oak Lawn’s identity, the group firmly believes in retaining the park’s original name: Oak Lawn Park and filed an application with Dallas Park and Recreation to make the name permanent.

— David Taffet

Here is their statement:

A Statement Regarding Oak Lawn Park Renaming Efforts

Oak Lawn over the decades has become synonymous with the LGBTQ community in Dallas. It is a place of safety, a place to call home without discrimination, a place where it is okay to hold hands, a place where anyone can meet and mingle without judgement, a place where people don’t have to fit in the same traditional boxes that other areas seem to expect.

Oak Lawn is also shrinking.

With each coming year, gentrification continuously threatens the Oak Lawn community. A piece here, a piece there. The community is losing long-time, locally owned restaurants for box stores and affordable housing for luxury apartments. With all this change, we find that even the name Oak Lawn has been chipped at and chiseled away to make room for more palatable names like “Uptown” and “Turtle Creek.” Take Seville Uptown for instance, which is situated squarely in Oak Lawn – or recent efforts to rename Oak Lawn Park to Turtle Creek Park.

As our city grows, it is futile to think that we can (or should) stop the continued change and evolution in Oak Lawn or any other area of the city. This does not mean we should not strive to defend our home or its name.

The name Oak Lawn has more meaning than some of the surrounding – more affluent – areas that would love to take a piece of it and claim it as their own. Oak Lawn is not a fancy name. It isn’t named after someone who was great at business and it doesn’t fit into the master growth plans of the surrounding areas. What it has that these areas don’t have is an identity, a culture, a connotation, a level of recognition that transcends its physical footprint.

Oak Lawn is experiencing a cultural revival. From murals to gateways to the reclamation of a park which was named Oak Lawn over a century ago but has been long tarnished by symbols of hatred and organizations that would impose and preserve these symbols for decades.

It is time that we take ownership in the community of Oak Lawn and all that the name stands for. If we do not defend our community, we will lose it. We owe it to those who came before us, those who call it home now, and those who will need a safe place to call home in the future.

Take Back Oak Lawn is a community organization that strives for safety and equality for all Dallas citizens – regardless of race, gender identity, sex, religion, immigration status, or sexual orientation. We firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to live, work, and worship without fear for their or their loved ones safety.