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Future Mesa College project to honor Rosa Parks

Soon, the San Diego Mesa College campus will honor a civil rights activist with a memorial that will become a centerpiece of a new construction project.

Rosa Parks’ legacy and teaching will be prominently displayed at the new Metropolitan Transit System bus stop located at the new east gateway entrance to the college and incorporates the first MTS bus stop to be built on campus grounds.

The augmented MTS bus shelter will feature panels displaying the history and images of Parks with photographic transparencies of actual Mesa College students laminated between safety glass located above the benches.

The project also will feature a reflection area with terra cotta-colored cast concrete curved walls, seating and a rose vessel.

Adjacent to the transit stop will be a “Quiet Strength” reflection area in honor of what Parks stood for: that “all people have within them to take a stand against repression and injustice.”

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

Parks had a special relationship with Mesa College. She 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.

When Parks passed away in 2005 at the age of 92, 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, and in November 2008 the project was awarded to a trio that includes San Diego public artists Nina Karavasiles, Mario Lara and diversity specialist Dr. Gerda Govine-Ituarte, Ed.D.

“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 of the San Diego Community College District and former Mesa College president, in a statement. “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.”

Total cost of the project is $150,000 and funding for the Rosa Parks Memorial Project was provided by the Mesa College Foundation with support from propositions S and N funds.

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