PHOTO RELEASE: Sen. Lara Kicks Off Women’s History Month with Community Celebration in Support of Sally Ride Statue

March 03, 2015

Captain Wendy Lawrence, Sally Ride’s family, students from Sally Ride Elementary School, LGBT and Women’s leaders join Senator Lara in supporting Senate Joint Resolution 4

LOS ANGELES, CA —California State Senator Ricardo Lara (Bell Gardens) ushered in Women’s History Month with a community celebration in front of the iconic Space Shuttle Endeavour urging the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 4 which would place a statue of American pioneer 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.

“Sally Ride is a Californian, American hero and stratospheric trailblazer who devoted her life to pushing the limits of space and inspiring future generations to reach for the stars,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Today, at the start of Women’s History Month, we celebrate Sally’s achievements in life and are reminded of her lasting impact as one of the most important women in history. I am proud to author SJR 4 to memorialize Sally as one of California’s two representatives in our nation’s Statuary Hall.”

\Senator Ricardo Lara pictured with astronaut Wendy Lawrence, students from Sally Ride Elementary School, LA LGBT Center’s Lorri Jean, Sally Ride’s sister Bear Ride and mother Joyce Ride.

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.

“Sally’s contributions have touched so many lives,” said Captain Wendy Lawrence, an astronaut who logged hours traveling in the Space Shuttle Endeavour. “As someone who has been very privileged to follow in Sally's footsteps, I am glad to see that there is a movement underway to recognize her and all that she has done for STEM education, young girls and our country.”

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence addresses the crowd at the California Science Center.

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. 

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 LGBT community.

"Sally’s statue would be a powerful counterpoint to the prejudice that so many LGBT young people face.  It will serve as an inspiration for great achievement and as a beacon of hope for LGBT young people everywhere,” stated Lorri L. Jean, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Senator Lara with students from Sally Ride Elementary School celebrating Women’s History Month

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. 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.

”Sally broke so many humanly conceived barriers with intelligence, imagination, courage and good humor, and her legacy continues to inspire those who dream that anything might be possible when you diligently pursue your dreams,” said her sister Revered Bear Ride.