Construction to Begin on Rosa Parks Memorial Project at Mesa College

Just in time for what would have been Rosa Parks 96th birthday tomorrow, San Diego Mesa College announces that construction is about to begin on an MTS transit stop and surrounds honoring the civil rights activist. The memorial project will be located at the new east gateway entrance to Mesa College and incorporates the first MTS stop to be built on campus grounds.

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 overwhelmed 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.

Construction of the project will commence in the spring. The transit stop will be unveiled and dedicated in fall 2009. A commemoration of the 54th anniversary of Rosa Park’s act of civil disobedience will be held on December 1, 2009.

Interested persons are invited to attend a community forum with the artists on Thursday, March 26, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Community Center, Market Creek Plaza, 404 Euclid Avenue.




About the Rosa Parks Memorial Project

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.  Adjacent to the transit stop will be a “Quiet Strength” reflection area. The augmented MTS bus shelter will be located on Mesa College Drive at the east entrance to the college campus and will feature panels displaying the history and images of Rosa Parks. Photographic transparencies of actual Mesa College students laminated in between safety glass will be displayed above the benches. The reflection area will feature Terra Cotta colored cast concrete curved walls, seating and a rose vessel. The unique design of the project incorporates a fully functioning MTS transit stop and surrounds. Total cost of the project is $150,000. Funding for the Rosa Parks Memorial Project was provided by the Mesa College Foundation with support from Propositions S and N funds.


Campus and Community Forums

Campus Forum: 6:30-8:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb 26, Room G-101, San Diego Mesa College, 7250 Mesa College Drive, Kearny Mesa.

Community Forum: 6:00-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, Joe and Vi Jacobs Community Center, Market Creek Plaza, 404 Euclid Ave. San Diego, near the corner of Market Street and Euclid.


About the Public Art Team

Dr. Gerda Govine-Ituarte, 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.