Civil Rights Legend Rosa Parks Memorialized at San Diego Mesa College

After more than a year of planning, six weeks of construction and nearly in time for what would have been Rosa Parks 96th birthday on February 4, San Diego Mesa College will unveil a Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) transit center and surrounds honoring the civil rights activist. An unveiling and dedication of the memorial project will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010, at 10 a.m. The event will be held at the transit center ‐‐ the first MTS stop to be built on the Mesa College grounds ‐‐ located at the new east gateway entrance to Mesa College.

The Rosa Parks Memorial Project celebrates the legacy and attributes of civil rights activist Rosa

Parks and especially the “Quiet Strength” that all people have within them to take a stand against repression and injustice. The augmented MTS bus shelter features panels displaying the history and images of Rosa Parks. Photographic transparencies of actual Mesa College students laminated in between safety glass are displayed above the benches.

Adjacent to the transit center is a “Quiet Strength” reflection area. The reflection area features Terra Cotta colored cast concrete curved walls, seating and a rose vessel. Total cost of the project is $150,000. Funding for the Rosa Parks Memorial Project was provided by the Mesa College Foundation.

Portions of the project were completed as part of the Mesa College East Campus Improvement Project. The memorial project honors the legacy and teachings of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who had a special relationship with Mesa College. Mrs. Parks first visited the college in 1992, and later that year named Mesa as the San Diego‐Mexico branch of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Mrs. Parks continued to visit the college through 1995.

“Mrs. Parks was not only an iconic figure of the Civil Rights Movement, she was a warm and caring presence to many people,” said Dr. Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor, SDCCD, and former Mesa College President. “Our students and faculty looked forward to her visits to Mesa College, and all of us were inspired by her combination of humility and courage.”

Rosa Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92. At that time, the Mesa College Foundation explored the possibility of honoring the late civil rights activist, and provided funding to explore a memorial on the grounds of Mesa College.

In 2007, Mesa College reviewed eight proposals from a variety of interested artists. In November 2008, the project was awarded to a trio that includes San Diego Public Artists Nina Karavasiles and Mario Lara, and diversity specialist Dr. Gerda Govine‐Ituarte, Ed.D.

The public is invited to attend the unveiling. For more information, see‐parks.

For high‐resolution photos or renderings, please contact Lina Heil or Ursula Kroemer.


About the Public Art Team

Dr. Gerda GovineItuarte, Ed.D. is C.E.O. of Govine Consulting specializing in human

resources/diversity/organizational development, labor, and workplace issues.

Nina Karavasiles, Public Artist is currently working on commissions for the Colfax Bridge in Studio City, Los Angeles. She recently completed an African‐American Legacy Project for Lillian Place in San Diego as well as the 70th Street Trolley Station.

Prof. Mario Lara, Public Artist is currently a member of the Department of Fine Arts faculty at Mesa College. Professor Lara’s most recent public art project is the trolley station at 25th and Commercial Trolley Station, San Diego.