'Star Trek: The Next Generation's LeVar Burton to Have Sacramento Park Renamed After Him

Sacramento will rename one of its public parks after Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the city’s parks commission recommended that Richfield Park in Meadowview be renamed LeVar Burton Park.

Burton moved to Sacramento with his family when he was 3-years-old.

“He’s always been proud of his Sacramento roots and he continues to use his career and his influence to be a strong advocate for literacy for children,” Brianna Moland, assistant planner for the city, said.

Sacramento commissioner Chinua Rhodes said, “I really am happy to see somebody, especially somebody of color, coming out of the south area in such a positive way who’s made a great impact.”

“Wow, is all I can say as well!” Burton tweeted in response to the news.

Burton is known for his role in Roots and as the host of Reading Rainbow. For Star Trek fans, he’ll always be Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. But Burton recently explained how his life was touched by Star Trek even before joining the cast of The Next Generation.

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“I felt a responsibility, having been an enormous fan of the original series, Star Trek,” Burton said during an interview with CBC Radio’s arts program Q. “I’m a huge fan of the science fiction genre, always have been. Science fiction is my go-to body of literature for just pure pleasure and enjoyment. When I want to read something for me, it’s generally science fiction or fantasy. Star Trek was one of the very few representations of the future I encountered as a kid where people who looked like me were represented. So in an era in my and in America where it was rare to see black people on TV except on the nightly news during the Vietnam War era when most of the soldiers we were sending to the theater of were black kids, Star Trek was huge. What Gene Roddenberry, as a storyteller, was saying to me was, ‘When the future comes, there’s a place for you.’ That was...it’s hard to underestimate the power that seeing oneself reflected in the popular culture, what impact it has. It validates you. Absent seeing yourself represented, or people who are like you represented in popular culture, you are sent a very dangerous message, a message that says, ‘You don’t matter,’ that you’re not important. So you know, quite naturally, I clung onto that example of black people in the future.”

What do you think of Sacramento naming a park after LeVar Burton? Let us know in the comments!