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Linkin Park Fan Gathers more than 19,000 Signatures on Petition to Rename Santa Monica Park


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By Jorge Casuso

July 24, 2017 -- By midnight Sunday, a Linkin Park fan had collected more than 19,000 online signatures on a petition to rename the Santa Monica park that inspired the rock band's name in the wake of frontman Chester Bennington's death last week.

The signature drive was posted on petition by Sarah Rose after Bennington was found dead by police in his Palos Verdes Estates home shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, after an apparent suicide by hanging ("Deceased Linkin Park Frontman's Band Had Strong Santa Monica Ties," July 20, 2017).

Chester Bennington
Chester Bennington (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
"When I was a teenager, I brought a copy of LINKIN PARK's 'Meteora' CD insert with me every single day to middle school," Rose wrote on her petition. "That record got me through being bullied and made fun of by what felt like everyone in my class.

"I would read the lyrics when I was teased or picked on. For a large faction of people in my generation, LINKIN PARK's music helped those who felt alienated find voice and strength."

The drive immediately picked up steam with fans worldwide -- from Japan to Sweden and Russia to Brazil -- signing the petition. By midnight Sunday, the petition had garnered 19, 032 supporters, with fans signing on by the minute.

But the drive will likely not result in the name of the park being changed, in large part because the Lincoln Park referred to on Rose's petition was renamed Christine Emerson Reed Park, after the late City Council member, nearly two decades ago, City officials said.

"Clearly, the spirit of Chester Bennington inspires countless people around the planet, just as Lincoln Park inspired Bennington," City Manager Rick Cole told the Lookout Sunday.

"But Lincoln Park has not been called by that name for years and instead honors the service of one of Santa Monica’s most distinguished civic leaders."

Cole, however, added that "some form of recognition is certainly warranted" and said the appropriate forum for that discussion would be the City's Parks and Recreation Commission.

"They’ve had recent experience with balancing the often emotional claims of memory for naming public spaces," Cole wrote in an email. "I’m sure it will get serious and thoughtful discussion."

News of Bennington's death released a flood of emotional testimony from fans who first encountered Linkin Park's raw, emotional sound as teenagers when the band's debut album, "Hybrid Theory," was released in 2000.

In a 2002 interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine Bennington discussed the genesis of the band's songs.

"It's easy to fall into that thing – 'poor, poor me', that's where songs like 'Crawling' come from: I can't take myself.

"But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don't say 'you' at any point. It's about how I'm the reason that I feel this way. There's something inside me that pulls me down."

One fan from Italy who signed the online petition said Bennington's emotional vocals and raw honest lyrics helped his fans overcome "depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts."

Another fan, this one from Ontario, wrote: "Linkin Park has always been there for me during the best and worst times of my life. I've never been big on celebrity deaths, because none of them really affected me, but this one hit me hard.

"Chester Bennington, although I may have never met him, has touched my life in so many ways, and has in fact played a role in saving it, and so many fans can say the same thing.

"It's sad that a man who saved countless lives didn't have someone who could save his."

A fan from the Czech Republic summed up the loss.

"I have been growing up with LP in my headphones. Now I feel like a part of me died."


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