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A look ahead to the FUTURE with the Kennedy Memorial Initiative

We continue our celebration of the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative with a look at what the future holds for this iconic landmark. Here’s more with Executive Director Darryl Lockett.

  PACERS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT, KENNEDY KING MEMORIAL INITIATIVE ANNOUNCE THE BELOVED COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP Pacers Sports & Entertainment and the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative (KKMI) today announced the Beloved Community Partnership, a multi-year strategy that centers on the Landmark for Peace Memorial at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and expands to the broader King Park community. The effort will align to other important work by organizations across Indianapolis to address chronic and systemic racial disparities through K-12 educational programming, leadership development, and open dialogue. 

The Pacers’ history with the Landmark for Peace Memorial and KMMI is a long one. In 1994, long-time Pacers President Donnie Walsh formed the Pacers Foundation and made the creation of the historic landmark at 17th and Broadway streets the organization’s very first project. Today, the memorial at the site of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s impassioned 1968 speech on the assassination of Dr. King is a source of pride for the community and a constant reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go to achieve the vision promoted by these great leaders. 

“MLK Day is an important commemoration of the legacy of Dr. King and while it is an annual reminder of how far we have come in the last sixty years, the events of last year showed us how far we have to go in the areas of social justice and racial equity. That starts with forming the right partnerships with organizations like KKMI, ones committed to shared values and an action-oriented approach,” said PS&E President & COO Rick Fuson. “We have an amazing memorial to Dr. King and Senator Kennedy right on 17th Street in the heart of our downtown, and the task before us is to bring to life those ideals for which they fought and use their message of social justice to fuel our efforts against systemic inequity.”  

Through the Beloved Community Partnership, PS&E will support various new and existing KKMI programming aligned to the company’s Social Justice Agenda , a set of challenges like the educational achievement gap and food insecurity most acutely felt by Black & Brown residents for decades. These programs include Courageous Conversations, a series of moderated community discussions highlighting Indianapolis’ lingering social justice issues and best practices to address them, as well as KKMI’s educator professional development and advocacy for educational curricula more reflective of Black contributions. Additionally, KKMI and PS&E will continue to push federal leaders to designate the Kennedy King Park a National Park, an effort supported by members of Indiana’s congressional delegation.

Finally, the Beloved Community Partnership involves the creation of a new leadership development program, entitled Marvelous Potential after the award-winning book on Robert Kennedy’s education into the injustices faced by his fellow Americans, All This Marvelous Potential. The program will include an immersive experience for elected officials, civic and business leaders, and young professionals to provide them with an opportunity to better understand the impacts of systemic disparities through the eyes and experiences of those most directly impacted. The program, which will incorporate site visits to neighborhoods in Indiana and around the country that have developed grassroots solutions to chronic challenges, will formally tip off next fall. More details will follow. 

“KKMI is not just a beautiful memorial to these great men. We are an organization committed to channeling the spirit of equality and compassion so central to each of their legacies, to diminish racial conflict, inspire courageous action, and strengthen Indianapolis,” said Darryl Lockett, KKMI Executive Director. “PS&E has been there from the beginning, and the Beloved Community Partnership is a way all of us can refocus on the urgency of the challenges our neighborhoods face and get back to Dr. King’s unwavering call to peaceful yet unapologetic disruption of the status quo.”

More details about the Beloved Community Partnership will be available in the coming weeks. 

For more information on PS&E’s Social Justice Agenda and efforts, click here.

For more information on the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, click here