Signage and plaques for the Honorable John J. Kennedy swimming pool were unveiled at the Robinson Park Recreation Center this past weekend.
The dedication to the pool was held in October, but at that time the signage was not ready.
“The Kennedy family was delighted to see John’s name honoring his persistence in making this renovated pool a reality,” said his sister Lena Kennedy. “We’re grateful to Parks and Recreation Commissioners Jon Fuhrman and Treasurer Sheppard for initiating the process to name the pool after Mr. Kennedy.”
Kennedy, who represented District 3 on the City Council, died in 2022.
The City Council voted to name the pool after Kennedy last year. In June 2021 Kennedy told Pasadena Now that the new pool could play a key role in teaching local African American children to swim at a young age.
“Minority children, particularly those who are African American, are drowning in significant numbers across this country every year caused by the remnants of racist public policies of old, concerning access to public swimming pools, still impacting communities of color today,” Kennedy said in 2021. “Those racist policies cannot be overlooked.”
Black Americans are about half as likely to know how to swim as white Americans, Professor Jeff Wiltse from the University of Montana and author of “Contested Waters” told ABC News.
According to Wiltse, Black children are, depending on their age, three to five times more likely to drown than white children.
The center offers year-round aquatics programming, including vital swim lessons for all ages (toddlers through adults), water aerobics and parent and me classes, as well as recreational and lap swimming.
Last year, the City was honored for its renovation of the pool.
The pool project won project of the year in the recreational and athletic facilities category as a facility that meets the needs of a diverse, largely disadvantaged community and fosters a healthy lifestyle for residents of all ages and abilities.
“The event was attended by family, friends, Mayor Gordo, Councilmember Tyron Hampton, other elected officials, and clergy members which are significant in John’s life, was a powerful moment as everyone circled the pool to pray for the safety of those who enter.” Lena Kennedy said. “Special thanks to Supervisor Kathryn Barger for contributing the first half million dollars towards the pool renovation. It was a glorious day for our community and we felt John’s spirit was present throughout the event. It was a beautiful day!”