Over 150 people gathered near the SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday morning to celebrate the grand reveal of Barack Obama Boulevard, a newly renamed half-mile stretch of pavement that honors the 44th President of the United States.
As a growing number of Bay Area streets continue to be renamed to honor prominent Black activists and leaders, the City of San Jose unanimously approved plans to rename parts of streets leading to the SAP Center to honor Barack Obama earlier this year. The community-led effort — work conducted by the aptly named Barack Obama Boulevard Committee — was years in the making, as Hoodline previously reported, with the organization making presentations to neighborhood groups which helped them hone in on potential locations for Barack Obama Boulevard. Eventually, the spot was chosen and some $11,000 was raised by out-of-state donors, locals in the area, and national elected officials.
The idea, too, was supported on both sides of the political aisle.
“We always felt like it was going to happen because there was bipartisan support,” said Alex Shoor, who proposed the idea in an August 2017 guest essay in the Metro weekly, to Mercury News about the four-year process to get the street to fruition. “San Jose is a progressive, open-minded city. Most of us want to grow up in a country where any one of our children can reach their dreams and ascend to the highest office in the land.”
My first time seeing it in person. Barack Obama Boulevard! pic.twitter.com/rm3V4tAbGQ— Alex Shoor (@AlexShoor) August 21, 2021Saturday morning, a group of around 150 people, which included former San Jose City Councilman Forrest William, was led by Shoor as they walked down the new half-mile roadway, ending the walk at the SAP Center. There, Hellen Sims — an NAACP Silicon Valley vice president — amongst others addressed the crowd to share their gratitude and wax on about the day’s significance in helping to create “the change we believe in.”
"Today, San Jose has stepped up and created the change we can believe in: Barack Obama Boulevard,” Sims told the crowd, per the Mercury News. “This didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen because of one or two people. It happened by truly a team effort.”
San Jose residents and curious Bay Area locals can walk along or drive on Barack Obama Boulevard on certain renamed portions of Bird Avenue, South Montgomery, South Autumn, and North Autumn Street