Planning takes form for statue in Peninsula Park
By Mindy Cooper/The Portland Observer
In honor of the civil rights activist Rosa Parks, best known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama because of the color of her skin, the city will fund a statue art installation at Peninsula Park to be finished in 2013.
A planning committee, made up of eight individuals from different walks of life, has begun taking strides to erect the statue of Parks, often referred to as the ‘mother of the freedom movement’, in hopes to inspire the community of what it means to take a stand for justice.
“This is important to our community because there are a lot of us who would not have the freedom that we have today if not for her refusing to give up her seat and having African Americans be second class citizens,” said Vera Pool, a member of the planning committee.
According to Pool, the freedom experienced on public transportation is due to Rosa Park’s bravery.
“I think a statue will enable folks to know what a wonderful position she took and how much it impacted all of our lives,” she said. “Not just African Americans, but all others, by being courageous and standing against injustice.”
The committee plans to erect the statue where Peninsula Park intersects with Rosa Parks Way, originally Portland Boulevard.
“It was a great decision to name that street for Rosa Parks,” said Pool, who is also a member of Portland’s alumnae chapter of the African-American Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
She said because the street is named for the late civil rights leader, and Peninsula Park runs adjacent, the location is the perfect place to put a statue to honor a great woman.
“We, the Portland chapter, are very honored to serve on this committee because we have our facility across from Peninsula Park, which will allow people to enjoy the statue and walk across the street and see a building that represents women.”
Although times have changed since the Civil Rights movement, Pool said injustice remains today.
“Regardless of whether we are enjoying the freedom of public transportation and being integrated, there are still areas that don’t support integration,” she said. “Even in our city today, people of color still have to fight harder than non folks of color.”
To bring in different perspectives from throughout the community, an open house to inform individuals about the statue project was recently held.
“We want everyone to be involved,” she said.
A survey online is also available for anyone to give input about the type of Rosa Parks art piece they would like to have installed.
“This is very important to recognize as a piece of history,” she said.
To access the survey online, visit surveymonkey.com/s/8M57Y8Z.