Washington County leaders voted Monday to keep the name Dixie on the county convention center after voting last week to rebrand it to Greater Zion.
The change led to a flood of social media posts and an online petition that gathered over 16,000 signatures in favor of keeping Dixie as the name. A couple dozen county residents showed up to Monday’s meeting to defend Dixie and the region's ties to it.
“We don’t want to shy away from the term ‘Dixie,’” Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson said during Monday’s meeting.
The rebranding to Greater Zion was part of a larger tourism marketing plan in the region.
Southern Utah’s nickname Dixie has been a point of conflict over the years because of the name’s ties to the Confederacy. But many county residents were against the renaming because they say it erases the region’s history of growing cotton.
“Those of us who know and love this place know there’s not even a shred of racism behind that nickname,” county resident Jimi Kestin said.
Kestin said the board had poor timing in its initial rebranding decision given the nationwide protests centered on racial injustice and police brutality.
“The timing under which this change was voted on is more problematic because of the larger issues going on around the country,” he said.
County and city leaders unanimously voted to keep the name as Dixie, for now.