Morris' Magnolia

In 1999, the City of West Hollywood named a pocket park on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights Boulevard the Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle. The dedication ceremony in April 1999 included the dedication of a Chinese magnolia tree to Morris Kight with a bronze plaque that read:

The venerable Morris Kight in recognition of your tireless, peaceful efforts to liberate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and others from economic and societal oppression. Thank you Morris for your courage, your leadership, your insights, and most of all your kindness even as you forcefully stand up against discrimination on behalf of those still to [sic] frightened to speak for themselves. ‘You are our hero.’

Kight liked to visit the magnolia tree. He’d go to the florist across the street and get water and perhaps a new plant to leave near the magnolia. Sometimes he planted new seeds. He arranged to meet people there before going to lunch or he’d talk to strangers while sitting on one of the three benches. He encouraged everyone to continue to take care of the small triangle of a park.

Morris Kight, Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle
Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle | photo from author’s collection
Morris Kight
sidewalk plaque | photo from author’s collection

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