Something to remember, as we enter a new year: Yesterday's history, Tomorrow is a mystery and Today is a gift, that's why it is called "the present". [Via]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Remember Them: Champions for Humanity

Mario Chiodo, Prescott-Oakland Point sculptor, presented the final sculpting of the Maya Angelou and Ruby Bridges section of the “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity monument” honoring 25 inspirational humanitarians to a room full of supporters and contributors.

In attendance to welcome the first stage of completion to this historic monument was Don Perata (MC), Ruby Nell Bridges, Guy Johnson (Maya Angelou's son) and Leon Leyson (the youngest member of Shindler's List).

On November 14, 1960, Ruby Nell Bridges was the first African-American student to attend a formerly all -white elementary school (William Frantz Public School) in New Orleans. In 1960, desegregation was ordered in New Orleans, after passing a test, Ruby was selected to enter first-grade at William Frantz Public School. Although there were five other African-American students scheduled to enter the public schools in New Orleans, two decided to stay in their own schools, three were assigned to another school while Ruby entered William Frantz alone.

Leon Leyson, one of the youngest surviving members of 1,200 Polish Jews whose lives were saved by Oskar Schindler, when he employed them to work in his factories during World War II.
Leyson was 10 years-old when the war started and 13 when his father brought him into Oscar Schindler’s enamelware factory DEF. After World War 2, Leon Leyson spent three years in a displaced persons camp near Frankfurt Am Main in Germany. He came to the U.S. in 1949.

Leyson's mother and sister were among the 300 Schindler-women, who were routed on a train to Auschwitz by a mistake. Schindler bribed the Nazis and rescued the women who were released from Auschwitz - the only shipment out of the death camp during World War 2.

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson) achievements span over seven decades and showcase a wealth of talents, starting in 1942, when she became San Francisco’s first female cable car conductor.
In Maya Angelou 1969 autobiographyI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, the first of a six volume series, she chronicled the journey of a young woman who overcame a childhood rape, made a pilgrimage to Africa, served as a civil rights activist and became an example of self-determination.
The caged bird sings with fearful trill,
of the things unknown but longed for still,
and is tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

Other works by recent Mario Chiodo, include Oakland Children Fairyland- Entrance Marquee Topiary Dragon, Genie and Lamp, Storybook; Oakland Zoo-Otter Den Treehouse, Ladybug Climber, Spider Climber, Aldabra Tortoise and Shell Climber, and the Tomato Frog.