IE Civil Rights Movement
When the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California opened last October 2-years after its ground-breaking, a pillar was planted in downtown Riverside with the promise of developing a cultural centerpiece for the region.
With the foundation now in place, the goal has been to support and expand the pillars of public understanding of the roots, history, and evolution of the civil rights movement across the Inland Empire. One powerful tool was the buildout of a media center to record an oral history, first-person accounts, of those who have led, lived, and learned.
Toward that end, State Sen. Richard Roth secured a half-million dollars in funding from the just-passed California budget, which will in part fund an electronic archival system, to document the oral histories of Californians who have made significant impacts on the advancement of civil rights in the region.
“In the face of rising censorship and those who seek to revise history, the Institute is a beacon that shines a bright light on the long civil rights path from the past to today and to the glorious possibilities that the future provides,” Roth said.
The funding “is critical to developing our digital archive that will preserve the region’s civil rights history and will carry the lessons learned from our community into the future,” Sabrina Gonzalez, the executive director of the institute remarked.
Part of the funding will also support an enhancement of the Marin Luther King Jr. Memorial in downtown Riverside planned by the Riverside African American Historical Society.
Rose Mayes, Executive Director, Fair Housing Council of Riverside County added, “With the funds provided for the enhancement of the MLK site on Main Street and for the archival project in conjunction with the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California and the Riverside African American Historical Society, Inc., the history of the Inland Empire and the residents who have made powerful impacts for the betterment of all, will be preserved for perpetuity.”
“Our civil rights history is too often overlooked, and the Institute does the important work of centralizing these critical stories of our past,” said Senator Roth.
Located on Mission Inn Avenue, both the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California and Fair Housing Council of Riverside County are in the new Mission Heritage Plaza. The 92,000-square-foot project
also provides 72 units of housing and services for families and homeless/disabled veterans.
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