POA BOARD COMMUNICATION
In this email exchange, we addressed the email to . That email went directly into Peter's inbox. You cannot address a document to the POA President or Board that is not seen first by Peter Kristian.
A response to this July 17th email came on Aug 7th, above, after I sent a request for a response. No answer was given about our request for space in the August issue of Plantation Living.
To the Officers and Members of the Board: June 22, 2020
We believe the time has come to replace the word plantation in the name of our community. We know that HHP is a caring community that demonstrates respect for all people equally. We respect the opinion of those who think this change is unnecessary and wish to continue to acknowledge the history of the region. But this is a housing development not a monument to history. The sole purpose of our brand and our name should be to market our community in a favorable light to a broad spectrum of potential home buyers. Current events across the nation and locally would indicate that the word plantation no longer serves the purpose of enhancing our brand. If the word plantation were still a valuable marketing tactic it would not have been abandoned by so many other developments on and off the island.
Increasingly, plantation is an emotionally charged term, offensive to many, and reminding black and white members of our community of the inequities the black community has suffered for hundreds of years. Our Island was the home of the first freed slaves in our country. This is an immensely important part of our collective legacy, and it should be honored. It is not honored by having a reminder of the ‘generational grief’ and pain that so many endured. Some say slavery was abolished long ago and plantation is no longer associated with slavery. However, this is still a deeply emotional issue for many.
“I am an African American and it is a very unpleasant part of living in the south. The word plantation evokes images of slavery, images that are ugly and painful to think about. No, I’ve never been a slave, but my ancestors were. They were brought here against their will and brought to “PLANTATIONS” to pick cotton 10-16 hours a day, 6 days a week, and if the overseer thought they weren’t fast enough they were beaten. Our women were raped, children stripped from parents, and our men were killed on “PLANTATIONS“. So yes, if you have any black friends, or acquaintances, ask them.”(Comment, Island Packet Editorial, June 8, 2020)
And from a family that worked on making this change years ago in our community:
“We don’t understand why it takes an uprising following the tragic death of George Floyd to again draw attention to the fact that naming our wonderful communities ‘Plantations’ is offensive and disrespectful.” And: “This is not a geographical issue. This is not a political issue. This is about shedding a negative racial stigma and respecting humankind.”
We have found, through discussions with attorneys and those involved in name changes in other communities, that there are multiple ways to rename a community from a legal perspective, and the choice determines the cost. The least expensive, which several communities have chosen, is to revise the Articles of Incorporation with the name change and from that date on, “do business as” using the new name. The By-laws and Declaration of the Covenants would also have to reflect the new name but, it would not be necessary to revise all past legal documents.
With the support of the homeowners, the POA has authorized millions in capital improvements to our community to ensure that HHP remains attractive to potential homeowners. The Dolphin Head improvements will be millions more. By comparison, the cost of replacing the word plantation will be a relatively small investment in our future. Our organization, HHP Community for Change, has started a website to determine the number of HHP residents who are in favor of a name change and are willing to pledge financial support for it. If necessary, we will guarantee to up to $100,000 in legal fees through donations and fundraising to offset the costs associated with the name change. Our estimate is that there are thousands of HHP residents who support this change.
In discussions with the General Manager, we learned there is currently no analysis of the potential costs involved in a name change. Other communities who made the change felt the costs were not prohibitive. For the Board to provide guidance to the homeowners on this issue, it seems an assessment of the most cost-effective method of a name change is in order. We respectfully request the cost assessment for the change be provided and the official HHP Survey scheduled for next year be completed before the end of this year to assess the level of support for the name change.
Homeowners may find it an easier transition if we retain the HHP initials and replace the word plantation with another word that has no negative associations. Hilton Head Preserve, Hilton Head Pines, Hilton Head Palms, Hilton Head Place have all been suggested.
So please, help us to take this to the next step and let the community know that we are acknowledging that it is 2020, the world has changed, and that we want to support the adoption of a new way to describe ourselves. We have an amazing, diverse community that provides amenities, friendships and security to 4000+ households, and we want our name to reflect a more current, more descriptive picture of who we are and our humanity.
HHP Community for Change