NEW YORK (NEXSTAR) — The town of Swastika, located in upstate New York, voted this week to keep its controversial name arguing it is not connected with the Nazi hate symbol.
According to CNN, the group with domain over the town’s name voted unanimously to keep Swastika arguing founders named it after a Sanskrit word that means “well-being.”
“We regret that individuals, out of the area, that lack the knowledge of the history of our community become offended when they see the name,” Jon Douglass, supervisor for the Town of Black Brook, said in an interview with CNN. “To the members of our community, that the board represents, it is the name that their ancestors chose.”
The name-change request was submitted by a cyclist from New York City who often rode through the area.
“I think it should be obvious that the town should update its name and should pick a name that is not so offensive to so many Americans and so emblematic of intolerance, hate and tyranny,” Michael Alcamo said in an interview with NPR.
Alcamo said he didn’t expected the change to happen overnight, but he was surprised to learn there was a quick and unanimous vote against the move.
The swastika symbol was popularized in Europe in the late 19th century before being adopted by the Nazi Party in 1920, according to the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum.
Last year, a neighborhood in the Denver area voted to change its name from Swastika Acres to Old Cherry Hills. The neighborhood was named after a Colorado business that predated the rise of the Nazi Party.