Lead Story West Edition

No dream is too big on Obama Boulevard

SOUTH LOS ANGELES  — A local street was renamed in honor of former President Barack Obama during a street festival May 4.

In a ceremony that included county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Michael Lawson, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo Obama Boulevard was officially unveiled in honor of the 44th president of the United States.

The ceremony, held where Obama Boulevard intersects with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, was the highlight of a daylong music and street festival that featured food trucks, an array of local vendors, and performers, who included Doug E. Fresh, Yo-Yo, BJ the Chicago Kid, Battlecat and Kurrupt.

“In this moment of political tumult on the national level, it’s important to take stock of the tremendous accomplishment that was Barack Obama’s presidency,” Ridley-Thomas said. “His ascent to our nation’s highest office represents, in some ways, the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.”

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted last August to rename a 3.5-mile stretch of Rodeo Road as Obama Boulevard.

The boulevard is home to Rancho Cienega Park — the venue where Obama held his first campaign rally more than 12 years ago shortly after announcing his candidacy in February 2007.

Obama had earlier ties to Los Angeles, attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock from 1979 to 1981.

“Those eight years in the White House — it was never about me. It was always about you. It was always about us and what we could do together to bring this county more in line with our founders’ ideals,” said Urban League President Lawson reading a letter from Obama. “We knew our work wouldn’t be finished in one presidency. But we believed that our efforts would make America more equal, more just, and a more hopeful place.”

“The renaming of Rodeo Boulevard to Obama Boulevard represents a truly historic day for our city and country,” Wesson said. “With this change, we are publicly documenting what Obama’s legacy as our nation’s first black president means to our city and our South Los Angeles community. For every child who will drive down this street and see the president’s name, this will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big.”

“I’m thrilled that Los Angeles will be home to Obama Boulevard,” Wesson said last month. “Our history is important and this is one way that we will ensure that America’s 44th president’s legacy is shared for generations to come for Angelenos and visitors alike.”

The addition of Obama Boulevard will add to an area of the city known as President’s Row. Other presidential boulevards that run parallel to Barack Obama’s include George Washington Boulevard, John Adams Boulevard and Thomas Jefferson Boulevard.

Wesson’s spokesperson Jasmyne Cannick told City News Service that about 100 Obama Boulevard signs will be erected along the route in the coming days.