CARSON, California – In the next few months, the statue of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal will rise in this city that will make Filipinos around the world feel proud.
The bronze Rizal statue will stand nearly 7 feet on top of a 6-foot tall granite base helped funded by the Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement. It is the first statue in what will be the International Sculpture Garden, which broke ground last November.
The Sculpture Garden is the brainchild of the City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear. He said, not only will this be a place dedicated for public art, but he envisions a walking history museum, where people can take their children to learn about heroes from around world. It just so happens that the Philippines wanted to display theirs first.
Dear said, “I feel it’s very important for young people to understand who these leaders were, the work they did, the changes they made in world history, and by having a sculpture garden with statues it’ll bring forth a greater educational experience for children who come here, and not just for Filipino American children, but all children.”
Dear said Rizal stands for everything right. Though some of his colleagues and community leaders from other ethnic groups complained at first about why a Filipino who died in 1896 should be erected first, he and fellow Councilman Elito Santarina quelled that controversy by teaching them about Rizal and the Filipino’s message.
Santarina said, “Dr. Jose Rizal is a man of peace, a champion of human rights, being a national hero. When they start to get to know more about Dr. Jose Rizal, they start to accept that.”
The theme of the garden is “Heroes of Liberation, Freedom and Justice from Around the World.”
Rizal was a proponent of democracy and peaceful reforms. He preached peace and justice but eventually became a martyr for his people in the Philippines.
There are only 8 Rizal statues in the US sculpted by Toym de Leon. This will be the first in California. Officials said they hope to complete and celebrate this project before June 19, Rizal’s birthday.
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