Utica Honors Racial Justice Leader with Court Dedication
The City of Utica is remembering a community leader with the dedication of a basketball court in one of the city parks.
Patrick Johnson devoted his life to racial justice and worked with troubled city-youth to help them turn their lives around. He organized numerous community events, basketball tournaments, and hosted workshops with a goal of education and creating safer streets in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods, especially Cornhill.
Earlier this week, Mayor Robert Palmieri was joined by city and community leaders to dedicate the basketball courts at Kemble Park as The Patrick Johnson Court.
"It’s important that Patrick Johnson’s name and legacy are a part of the court where he touched so many people," Palmieri said. "As we remember Patrick, we remember his deeds and his message and we hope those are things that will be emulated for years to come. His contribution can never be matched, his wisdom will forever be missed, but his name will be part of these courts for as long as they exist."
The park is at the site of the old Kemble School in Utica.
Most recently, Johnson was the director of Save Our Streets, a program run through the Oneida County District Attorney's Office. At the time of his passing, DA Scott McNamara spoke to WIBX 950 and shared his thoughts on Johnson's impact and years of work in the community: "There's a lot of people in the community that try to do things. Patrick did more than try, he got up off the couch and went out and did it."
Johnson lost his battle with lung cancer in last month after having quietly battled the disease for a few years. He was 60.