In true Barack Obama fashion, the 44th president had an incredibly humble response to the fact that on Saturday (May 4), the City of Los Angeles renamed a nearly 4-mile stretch of road in his name.
The sizable portion of "Rodeo Road" has now been officially renamed "Obama Boulevard," an honor that those petitioning on behalf of the motion refer to as a reminder that "no dream is too big."
According to the city, the location is significant because Obama held his first campaign rally in Los Angeles on Feb. 20, 2007 at Rancho Cienega Park. For those not familiar with the area, the park sits on Rodeo Road and is right across from W. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
During the ceremony commemorating the occasion, a series of speeches by local key figures noted highlights from Obama's historic tenure as the country's first Black president and touched on the importance of voting, as well as featured an appearance from Michael Lawson, president and chief executive of the L.A. Urban League, who read aloud a letter penned by the man of honor himself.
"To everyone gathered on King Boulevard, 12 years ago we met in this park," Lawson read. "While Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I are so humbled by this day, we're still mindful that this is not about us. This is about this neighborhood's next generation and all we want for them. We hope they look at the new street signs and find inspiration in all that a group of committed citizens can achieve together."
Another attendee was Thandiwe Abdullah, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard, who spoke on the importance of the street being renamed in Obama's honor.
"A lot of people will say it's just another street, but for me, being 15 years old, a black child looking up and seeing the name of the first black president in my own 'hood — that gives me hope," Abdullah said. "That gives me inspiration to step into my fullest purpose, and I know it does for so many others who look like me."
The name change marks the latest addition in establishing a "presidential row." The area includes Washington Boulevard, Adams Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard as well.
"For every child who will drive down this street and see the name of the first Black President of our country, this boulevard will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big," the L.A. City Council president, Herb Wesson, tweeted later on Saturday.
As previously reported, the name change was approved last summer. In addition to Saturday's ceremony drawing over a thousand attendees, the event turned into a street festival of sorts with live music performances from artists such as Sheila E. and Doug E. Fresh.
It’s official - Rodeo Rd. is now #ObamaBlvd. For every child who will drive down this street and see the name of the first Black President of our country, this boulevard will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big. pic.twitter.com/uxVvc9wipZ— Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (@HerbJWesson) May 5, 2019