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State senator initiates review of racist geographic names

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SEATTLE -- State Sen. Pramila Jayapal has initiated a review of ethnically and racially offensive geographic names in Washington state. The Democrat from Seattle is working with the state Department of Natural Resources to begin working to change the names.

Jayapal acknowledges that some of the creeks and lakes with offensive names may be in remote places. But she says they still stand as a reminder of times when women and members of many ethnic groups were treated poorly.

Jayapal and the Department of Natural Resources have identified 48 places in Washington with offensive names, including "Coon Creek" in King County.

She hopes the first group of names will be changed this year. The process begins with filing a form with the state Committee on Geographic Names, which meets twice a year.

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