Largest Bronze Monument in the West Unveiled; Honors 25 International Humanitarians

Sep 08, 2011, 09:47 ET from Remember Them: Champions for Humanity

Ruby Bridges, Donzaleigh Abernathy, Ambassador Shabazz help City of Oakland celebrate country's first monument to diversity

OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Remember Them: Champions for Humanity, a world-class monument featuring 25 humanitarians, was unveiled during a ceremony this week in Oakland. The monument honors 25 humanitarians, including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Chief Joseph, Susan B. Anthony, Oskar Schindler, Thich Nhat Hanh, Elie Wiesel, Helen Keller, Shirin Ebadi, Nelson Mandela and others.   

The event on Tuesday featured Remember Them Humanitarian Ruby Bridges and family members of honored humanitarians, including: Donzaleigh Abernathy, Guy Johnson, Marlena Kiteley, Julianna Roosevelt, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz and Alice Withers.  The celebration also included actor Peter Coyote, Michael Morgan & the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Title sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, was represented by George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer, and Bernard Tyson, president and chief operating officer. 

"I'm privileged to be included in this monument with some of my heroes: Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa," said Bridges, who in 1960 became the first person to integrate public schools in the United States.  She is depicted in Norman Rockwell's famous painting, "The Problem We All Live With." "It is incumbent upon those of us here today to continue to strive for justice and quality for all," Bridges said. "We must remember them."

Halvorson told an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 1,000 people that, "this site is a celebration of 25 healing people -- 25 very real people who made real choices in the real world to make the world better and healthier. The 25 people celebrated in this place of healing were people who reached out in enlightenment and love to their fellow human beings."

Oakland native and master artist Mario Chiodo developed the project following the fateful events of 9/11 as an expression of how difficult times can call forth humanity's best efforts.

The Remember Them monument is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit project of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Phase I of the monument was installed, which includes three of four sections. The completed sculpture will stand 52 feet wide by 25 feet tall, cover 1,000 square feet and use more than 40,000 lbs. of bronze. A fourth section is slated to be installed next year, along with a special feature that will allow the visually impaired to explore life-sized bronze busts of each humanitarian. 

Kaiser Permanente is Remember Them's title sponsor, and other major supporters include AT&T, Bank of America, Catholic Healthcare West, The Clorox Company, Horizon Beverage, The Rotary Club of Oakland #3, Ramsell Holding Corp., Securitas, Wells Fargo and The Whalen Family Foundation. Southwest Airlines is the official carrier of Remember Them.

Visit Remember Them: Champions for Humanity at for information and images. 

John W. Ellis IV

SOURCE Remember Them: Champions for Humanity