The likelihood of Robert F. Kennedy becoming a president of the United States disappeared in a pool of blood following a victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel just after midnight on June 5, 1968. Today, the Ambassador is gone, having been replaced by the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, a sprawling colossus comprising six schools that will accommodate approximately 4,000 students. In front of the building, along Wilshire Boulevard, is the Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park. The space has a 6-foot-tall, 24-foot-wide stainless steel entryway with cutouts in the shape of a ripple of water, and text taken from the Day of Affirmation address Kennedy gave in South Africa in 1966. On the 8-by-110-foot back wall is a photo-etched portrait of Kennedy in black granite. Kennedy's words, some of which pertain to education, are interspersed with quotes from people who inspired him, and people who were inspired by him. From artist-designers May Sun and Richard Wyatt: “The Inspiration Park has a daytime presence and a nighttime presence, with a starlit floor. The implication of passivity and a sense of loss are inherent in the perception of a memorial. Inspiration, however, carries with it a call to positive action, the infusion of ideas and dreams that stimulate creativity in thought or action. For that reason, we would like this park to be experienced as an Inspiration Park, as opposed to a memorial park, because Robert Kennedy's ideas and passions are carried into the future, with younger generations discovering his convictions and calls to action.” If anyone inspired others, it was indeed Bobby Kennedy, and he's fittingly honored here. 3400 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-City.
—Todd David Schwartz
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