Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park

The Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park consists of a 6 ft. tall by 24 ft. wide stainless steel entryway with cut-outs in the form of a ripple in the water and cut-out text taken from the Day of Affirmation Address he gave in South Africa in 1966.  “Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation….It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped.  Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, it sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Through the cut-out openings in the stainless steel, you can see a photo-etched portrait in black granite of Robert Kennedy on the back wall.  The back wall is 8 ft. X 110 ft. long and is made form Jerusalem Gold Stone and his portrait is flanked by etched quotes in the stone.  Robert Kennedy’s speeches, some of which pertain to education, are interspersed by quotes from people who he was inspired by and by people who were inspired by him, including farm worker leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, whom he met, joined and marched with in Delano, California in 1966.

The Inspiration Park encompasses the theme of day and night.  The dark blue floor with the small inset lights is the reflection of a starlit night, that refers to Robert Kennedy’s speech at President John F. Kennedy’s memorial service:

“When I think of President Kennedy, I think of what Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet:

When he shall die

Take him and cut him out in little stars

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night,

And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

The golden yellow stone wall symbolizes the warmth of daylight when one is bathed by the rays of the sun. The Inspiration Park has a day time presence and a night time presence, with the 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.  Hopefully, the students at this school and the public at large will find relevance in these quotes that pertain to their own lives.  The park celebrates the life of Robert Kennedy, and the star pattern of the lights on the floor is based on the date of his birth.

– –   May Sun and Richard Wyatt

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