Of course, this news did not shock anyone. We've known since August that Hogsett was likely going to run for Mayor, and he had said that he was going to announce shortly after the 2014 General Election. I attended because I wanted to hear what Hogsett said.
In the shadow of one of our city's most beautiful monuments, Hogsett paid tribute to the men the Landmark for Peace Memorial commemorates. Of course, the night of April 4, 1968 would forever link Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King and the park now known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
It was on that day that King was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis by James Earl Ray. It was on that night that Kennedy was campaigning in Indianapolis for the Presidency, and he was given the task of telling the crowd that Dr. King was killed.
Kennedy asked, "Do they know about Martin Luther King?" When he was told by the organizers of the event that "they", the gathered crowd of supporters, did not. Kennedy approached the microphone and gave what some consider to be the best speech ever delivered by a politician. He did it off the cuff and without notes. It was a speech that was soaring in its appeal to our better angels.
Unlike other major cities, Indianapolis did not riot. It was a peaceful mourning that evening here. Kennedy's speech got much of the credit.
Hogsett made reference to the two giants cast in bronze behind him. It is their legacy that hangs over us all, and it's my sincere hope that under a Hogsett Administration that Indianapolis can make a move to end those things that divide us and bring that handshake that is depicted in the Landmark for Peace Memorial closer together in spirit.
As Hogsett noted, Kennedy's speech united this city on that horrible evening. It shouldn't take a tragedy to unite us to bring us back to the idea that we are one city. That was another theme in Hogsett's speech.
"We will do better by embracing that spirit that spread from this very spot to every corner in our city in April of 1968. Because for that one night, Indianapolis could not be divided. It was one city. It was our city. So tonight, I ask you to join me in rekindling that spirit once again as I formally announce my candidacy for mayor of the city of Indianapolis," Hogsett said.
We can really do better for this city, and we will under Joe Hogsett as Mayor. Consider this my endorsement. Ed DeLaney is a good man, but he's far too valuable as a legislator. We need him fighting hard in the Indiana General Assembly.
I took one cue tonight from Joe's message that many may have missed. For years, the community of Mars Hill has been forgotten. It often has sat divided between two or three different legislative districts and a couple of Council districts. Since Troy Avenue runs right through the heart, it's ripped between two school districts as well. Tonight, Hogsett mentioned Mars Hill in his speech. It was a small gesture, but it hopefully underlines this idea that the entire city is in this together.
I'm fired up and ready for Joe!