SACRAMENTO, CA, February 4, 2015 — California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) today introduced Senate Joint Resolution 4 which would require the United States Congress to place a statue of physicist, astronaut, and champion of science Dr. Sally Ride in the Statuary Hall located in the United States Capitol. Dr. Ride would become the first woman to represent California and the first member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to be placed in the Statuary Hall.
“Dr. Sally Ride is a California native, American hero and stratospheric trailblazer who devoted her life to pushing the limits of space and inspiring young girls to succeed in math and science careers,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “She is the embodiment of the American dream whose accomplishments and life work will encourage future generations to reach for the stars and celebrate diversity and inclusivity. I am proud to introduce SJR 4 to memorialize Dr. Ride as one of California’s two representatives in our nation’s Statuary Hall.”
Senator Lara is joined by 18 co-authors from the State Senate and Assembly, including the leadership of the California Legislative Women’s and LGBT Caucuses, as well as Principal co-author Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins.
Dr. Sally Ride made history on June 18, 1983 when she became the first American female astronaut and youngest person to soar into space when she traveled aboard the space shuttle Challenger. After leaving NASA in 1987, she focused her efforts on science education and on teaching young people, especially girls, that there are no limits to what they can achieve. In 2001, Dr. Ride cofounded Sally Ride Science, along with her life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, to create classroom materials, programs, and professional development courses for 3-8th grade educators and their students. They place a strong emphasis on gender and racial equality in the classroom and on introduce students to working scientists, engineers and mathematicians who exemplified this diversity in their respective fields. Dr. Ride went on to serve her country, California, and future generations as a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology; Director of the California Space Institute, inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the California Hall of Fame, the Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Additionally, Dr. Ride received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously from President Barack Obama in 2013, the highest civilian honor bestowed in the United States. Later in life, Dr. Ride became an inspiration for those battling pancreatic cancer and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“Sally would be very honored to represent her home state of California in the National Statuary Hall Collection,” said Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, Sally’s life partner and Cofounder and CEO of Sally Ride Science. “She believed that diverse role models are important in all areas, but especially in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), to inspire young girls and boys and to give them a sense of belonging in STEM. Having a statue of Sally on display in our nation’s capital would send a wonderful message of inspiration and equality to the world.”
Created in 1864, The National Statuary Hall Collection was authorized by the United States Congress to allow each State to provide two statues of notable citizens for display in the United States Capitol. The two statues currently on display representing California are President Ronald Reagan and Father Junipero Serra. Any state can request the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve a replacement of a statue the state has provided for display if the statue has been approved by the legislature and Governor and if the statue to be replaced has been displayed in the Capitol for at least ten years.
The SJR 4 aims to relocate the statue of Father Junipero Serra, known as an eloquent preacher and founder of numerous missions throughout California, at a location in California where citizens and visitors can enjoy it and be reminded of his significant historical impact upon our state. The statue of President Reagan was unveiled in the United States Capitol Rotunda on June 3, 2009. The statue of President Reagan replaced a statue of Thomas Starr King, which the State of California donated in 1931 along with the statue of Father Serra.
California’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls will select a commission to represent the state in selecting the sculptor or sculptors and obtain the necessary funds to carry out the resolution.
Senator Ricardo Lara was elected in 2012 to represent the 33rd Senate District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, South Los Angeles, Vernon, and Walnut Park.