N.Y. Bridge Dedicated to Robert F. Kennedy - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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The “new” bridge. (Source: Andrew Wadium)

The children and friends of Robert F. Kennedy assembled today at Astoria Park in Queens to commemorate the renaming of the Triborough Bridge to Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in honor of the celebrated former senator.

Former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Gov. David Paterson paid tribute to the spirited senator who was slain while campaigning during the presidential primaries in 1968. The renaming of the bridge marks the 40th anniversary of Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

“Robert F. Kennedy was a champion of social justice and human rights and his spirit is kept alive by his family’s continued commitment to those causes,” said Paterson, who in June signed the bill into law making possible the renaming of the bridge.

Many who spoke summoned Kennedy’s compassionate deeds, which they say defined a life dedicated to advancing human rights. While a senator he initiated a number of projects in the state, including assistance to underprivileged children and students with disabilities and the establishment of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The organization was set up to improve living conditions and employment opportunities in depressed areas of Brooklyn. Now in its 32nd year, the program remains a model for communities all across the nation.

Kennedy was assassinated at the age of 42 while campaigning for the presidency.

“Robert F. Kennedy thought on a grand scale and achieved what many thought was impossible. He stood at the summit and he saw the true soul of America. And like the great bridge that stretches above us, he tied us together; people of every color, every class, and every creed,” said Bloomberg to a crowd of more than 100 who braved the 35 degree weather to watch the unveiling of a new sign announcing the RFK Bridge.

Other dignitaries in attendance included former mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch and  Comptroller William Thompson, who is running for mayor of New York City. Thompson recounted Kennedy’s accomplishments during his short tenure as a senator.

“I think if you look at the things he did while he was here as U.S. senator, everything from helping to create and founding Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., just pushing for housing in New York City and bringing people together, that’s what this is about today; celebrating his legacy, making sure that it will always be part of New York in a number of different ways,” said Thompson.

Kennedy’s wife, Ethel, 80,  watched proudly as several generations of Kennedys sat behind her to witness the first ever dedication of a government-funded construction project to her husband. Kennedy’s family sought a legislative bill to have the bridge renamed to honor the communities in New York that he once served.

“As a kid, I remember going over this bridge with Daddy,” said Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial center for human rights in Washington D.C. “This bridge is named for a man who spoke to our better angels. Those whose lives

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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