• MADE IN DENA

Dena Mourns The Loss of Councilman John J. Kennedy

Updated: Jul 28


City of Pasadena Councilman, John J. Kennedy, at First A.M.E. Church in Pasadena
City of Pasadena Councilman, John J. Kennedy, at First A.M.E. Church in Pasadena, 2015

On Thursday, July 21, 2022, we received the devastating news that City of Pasadena Councilman, John J. Kennedy, had passed away due to unspecified health-related causes. The news came as an absolute shock to the entire community, including many friends and family.


Though John led a life full of public service, his official political career began in 2012 when he entered the race to join the Pasadena City Council as councilmember representing the city's third district. Beating out opponent, Ishmael Trone, he was elected to the city council in 2013. John was reelected twice, including his recent reelection in June, 2022. While on council, John served on the Public Safety and Finance committees, and represented the city on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.


Jason Hardin (The DENA Magazine, Publisher) with John J. Kennedy (City of Pasadena, Councilman) on the red carpet of Toys For Tots Celebrity Basketball Game, 2012
Jason Hardin (The DENA Magazine, Publisher) with John J. Kennedy (City of Pasadena, Councilman) on the red carpet of Toys For Tots Celebrity Basketball Game, 2012

During his almost decade span on Pasadena's city council, John J. Kennedy was an active and very vocal advocate for equality, civil justice, affordable housing, and a livable wage. John was also a strong supporter of local hire and entrepreneurship. John was dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Pasadena residents, especially the underserved neighborhoods of Northwest Pasadena. Standing against injustice and police brutality, John helped form the Community Police Oversight Commission. John also stood against long-time police-funded, Victor Gordo, who ran an extremely dirty campaign for mayor in the 2020 election. Though Gordo referred to Kennedy as a "friend" in his recent statement to the press, they were anything but.


Unlike the many local political puppets like mayor Victor Gordo, John just didn't represent our neighborhoods as a councilman, he actually lived here. It was never a surprise to see John throughout our community jogging, supporting local businesses, fellowshipping at local events, or happily cruising around in his big black pickup truck. John was absolutely "Dena" to the fullest.


The sudden passing of such a vocal and dedicated leader in our community will definitely be felt by the entire city, and definitely not in a positive way. John was extremely instrumental in opposing unjust policies as well as opposing fellow councilmembers who refuse to represent the best interests of our community. John's absence from city council creates more of a need than ever for each and every one of us to become more involved in the decision-making process that directly dictates what happens in our city, our schools, our streets, and our homes. So, let us honor the life of our dear friend and neighbor by doing whatever we can to continue his efforts to better our community and the world around us


John J. Kennedy (City of Pasadena, Councilman) with Jason Hardin (Made In Dena, Creator) at Kennedy's Reelection Kickoff Event, 2022
John J. Kennedy (City of Pasadena, Councilman) with Jason Hardin (Made In Dena, Creator) at Kennedy's Reelection Kickoff Event, 2022

Flags at all city facilities were lowered to half-staff in Kennedy’s honor. In lieu of flowers, Kennedy’s family requested that contributions be made in his honor to a scholarship fund at the Pasadena Community Foundation. Donations can be made at pasadenacf.org/donate/.





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