I know exactly where I was on June 5, 1968 just after midnight. How could I ever forget?
As a 15-year-old with a quite sophisticated sense of politics, I had just celebrated with hundreds of other
people at the Robert F. Kennedy for President headquarters in downtown San Diego, California.
We had watched RFK on TV as he had just won the California primary and had given his famous victory
speech, "And now on to Chicago and let's win there!"
We piled into a car "Let's go up to Los Angeles and celebrate at the Ambassador Hotel!,"
"I don't know, we have school tomorrow." "What do you want to do?" echoed back and forth in the car, we
turned on the radio to further savor the moment...
then a hush fell throughout the car...
"NBC News is reporting that shots rang out just after Senator Kennedy declared his victory in
California and have seriously injured him and others...stay tuned for further details..."
We were all speechless and headed back home...where we were greeted by alarmed parents with TVs
blaring after midnight: "Do you know what has happened???" "Yes." "Are you alright?"
"Yes." ...but not really...nobody was...and all American's lives would be changed and affected forever.
You see, from the minute in March, Robert "Bobby" F. Kennedy declared he would be a
candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination challenging President Lyndon "LBJ" Johnson, (who
would drop out of the race)
I volunteered after school daily and all weekends at his San Diego headquarters.
I worked with the greatest enthusiasm for this unique man. Why?
He loved all Americans equally and wanted to see all of them given the same rights--whether they were
black, brown, red, yellow or any shade in-between. And the people who were not being treated equally in
could sense his genuine desires and commitment and responded accordingly. Crowds cheered him on
like a rock star wherever he went.
He further wanted to stop the Vietnam War. America's 1960's quagmire that tore this country apart.
He was winning most of the primaries and polls indicated that he would beat any Republican in the fall
Had he gone on to become President of the United States, the war would have ended early sparing
of families the grief that they would experience in the years to come, equal rights programs would have
been accelerated, bringing this country closer together instead of further apart as it would move from
Working for Bobby Kennedy as a 15-year old had its advantages and disadvantages.
Being part of an actual political campaign was exciting and very rewarding. On the other hand, our country
was still full of bigots and racists.
And many stupid teenagers who I attended Coronado High School with had no sense of politics other
than what they would repeat from mom and dad and were quite open about saying those things out loud
at school in front of me:
"Kennedy is a NWORD-Lover" "Only the Spics and Jews will vote for Kennedy."
"What are you wasting your time working for that Communist for?"
Back then you never questioned what a teacher said or state an opposing opinion as a challenge. When
a teacher, commenting on the upcoming primary said, “Kennedy can't win. He's too much in favor of the
black man.” This was generally accepted as an astute observation at this particular school.
And how can I ever forget 2 days after his assassination receiving a gift in the mail. I wasn't expecting
anything. In a large envelope was a copy of a recent Saturday Evening Post magazine with RFK on the
cover and the story “How Bobby Kennedy Plans To Win It.” Somebody actually made the effort to do all
that. A school filled with Racist, Antisemitic Bigots.
And when they kept calling me about a class reunion a few years ago and I would not return their calls,
they could not understand. “Why won't you call us back?”
After all these years, this leads me to publicly say one thing to those close-minded, racist, bigoted,
hateful, prejudiced people:
SCREW YOU. Really, SCREW YOU.