On Friday night, as The Militant and an unspecified operative were on a reconnaissance mission through the Koreatown area, they happened upon an inscribed wall of monumental proportions while cruising along Wilshire.
"What was that?!" The Militant said. They checked it out.
It was a wall bearing quotations from the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who (and shame on you if you don't even know the connection, but The Militant will just mention it anyway) was assassinated on June 5, 1968 just yards away at the old Ambassador Hotel (which was itself assassinated in 2005). By the way, did you know that in RFK's California Primary victory speech on that fateful night, he congratulated Don Drysdale on his 6th consecutive shutout, and that the Dodgers pitching legend carried a cassette tape of Kennedy's speech with him everywhere he went until his death in 1993?
The site is the new Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Park, a 1/3-acre pocket park along Wilshire Blvd between Kenmore and Alexandria avenues. It was supposed to open last year, but...you know what happens when government entities contract private companies. But in its nearly-complete state, with memorial inscriptions, granite and metal artwork, plants, trees, grass and park benches, it's assumed to open up this fall when the high school at the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center, built directly on the hotel's site, opens its doors. Earlier this year, the LAUSD dedicated the new school facility - formerly named Central Los Angeles Learning Center #1 (See, even the intellectually-deficient LAUSD has enough sense to know this is neither the Eastside nor the Westside...) in honor of the late senator. Though appropriate, the nod to history was still a shocker, since the LAUSD board doesn't really give a crap about teaching anything to its students aside from having them meet standardized test scores. But The Militant digresses!
The Militant can totally see this pocket park become a hit with the Wilshire office lunchtime crowd (Hmm...food trucks there? Or would that be too disrespectful for the solemn nature of the park?), history buffs, tourists and perhaps the picket lines for the inevitable next teacher's strike.
The Militant will definitely check it out when the chain-link fences go down -- after all, the Militant asked for more real public space, and, by golly, we'll be getting it. There also doesn't appear to be any permanent fencing in front of the park, so it looks like it's 24-hour access (there's a security cam and loudspeaker pointed at the park benches and the wall, presumably to thwart off taggers and the homeless).
Although it's through such a tragic circumstance, this City should be humbled as host to one of the landmark historical events in American history. This pocket part is a just dedication to the slain 1960s political figure.