Metropolitan transit center honors civil rights activist Rosa Parks

Metropolitan transit center’s new bus honors the legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Photo: Gina Yarbrough

SAN DIEGO–After more than a year of planning and six weeks of construction, San Diego Mesa College unveiled its new Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) transit center honoring the legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

The morning dedication ceremony for the Rosa Parks Memorial Project was held February 25 at the east gateway entrance of Mesa College.

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.

Parks, who had a special relationship with Mesa College, 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. Parks continued to visit the college through 1995.

Photo: Gina Yarbrough.

“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.”

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.

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