NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY RENAMES TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE THE ROBERT F. KENNEDY BRIDGE
Albany, New York, — The New York State Assembly approved legislation on June 5 to rename the Triborough Bridge in New York City as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
The bill passed the State Senate on April 8, and now heads to the desk of Governor David Paterson for signing.
Forty years after Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, the bridge would become the first major public work dedicated to Kennedy in New York State, where he served as U.S. Senator from 1965-1968.
“On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the tragic assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, I commend the NYS Legislature on the passage of this bill which appropriately recognizes the enormous contribution of an exemplary New Yorker. Robert F. Kennedy enriched us all through his efforts to advance civil rights, fight poverty and provide unity during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. I continue to be inspired by his words, his work and his legacy,” said Governor David A. Paterson.
“Forty years ago, our nation lost one of its most influential sons, Robert F. Kennedy. I can’t think of a more fitting honor than dedicating a bridge after a man who committed his life to bridging the gaps that divided humanity, first as U.S. Attorney General, and then as a Senator from the great State of New York,” said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. “Renaming this bridge after Robert F. Kennedy is more than a symbolic gesture — by doing so, we are ensuring that future generations of New Yorkers, and people from across the world, will remember the remarkable contributions of a great man who devoted his life to making this world a better place.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “I am proud to sponsor and the People’s House of the State Legislature is proud to pass this historic legislation renaming New York’s majestic Triborough Bridge as the Senator Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Bobby Kennedy served our state and our nation with courage and compassion. On this the 40th anniversary of his assassination, this renaming is a fitting tribute to a great American leader who gave his life striving to bridge the gaps that divide our people. As we continue striving to transform his vision to reality, let us be guided by Senator Kennedy’s eloquence: ‘Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. The work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, will determine our destiny.’
“This is a tremendous honor. Our family is overjoyed,” said Ethel Kennedy. “I love that the city he knew and cared about returns his devotion. Our family is enormously grateful for this glorious celebration of his life.”
”Robert Kennedy loved New York, he grew up there and considered it his home, dedicating much of his final years to improving the quality of life for its most vulnerable citizens” said his son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., top environmental lawyer and advocate. “He would be humbled by the symbolism of the structure bearing his name.”
“On the fortieth anniversary of his last campaign, naming the span across three boroughs is a tremendous tribute to Robert Kennedy’s commitment to bridging divides between black and white, rich and poor, young and old, and to his commitment to creating a more just and peaceful world,” said Kerry Kennedy, founder, Robert F Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights.
The Triborough Bridge is located on Interstate 278 and is operated by the State of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. Opened in 1936, the facility now consists of three bridges, a viaduct, and 14 miles of approach roads connecting Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The bridge serves as a well traveled connection for those heading to destinations in New York City, Long Island and Upstate New York.
While representing New York, Senator Kennedy initiated numerous projects for the state’s residents, including assistance to underprivileged children and students with disabilities and the establishment of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation to improve living conditions and employment opportunities for residents in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. The cutting-edge program became a model for urban renewal and community development across the nation.
Robert F. Kennedy boldly faced tough problems and challenged the comfortable and complacent. To keep his vision alive, his family and friends founded a living memorial in 1968. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the human rights movement through providing innovative support to human rights defenders around the world who have won the RFK Human Rights Award. Every year the RFK Memorial honors leading investigative journalists and authors who bring light to injustice through the RFK Book and Journalism Awards. Through the combined power of arts and education, the RFK Memorial’s SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER program seeks to proactively engage the general public by bringing human rights activists and their work into contact with ever-increasing audiences. Over the past four years, SPEAK TRUTH has grown from a book by Kerry Kennedy exploring courage in the words of leading human rights defenders to a moving and inspirational play by Ariel Dorfman, a photographic exhibition by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eddie Adams, a PBS documentary, an educational packet, and a series of public service announcements.
Source: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (www.rfkmemorial.org)