Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate today (Monday) spoke at the U-S Conference of Mayors meeting and outlined the steps taken in Cedar Rapids to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Pate says until recently, Cedar Rapids had no monument, memorial, public facility or even street named after the civil rights leader. On Saturday — King’s actual birthday — Pate signed a resolution renaming the 12th Avenue Bridge over the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids the Martin Luther King, Junior Memorial Bridge. “It’s fitting we memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior with a bridge,” Pate says. “It was his intent and his desire to create a bridge between people.” In addition, a new, permanent piece of outdoor artwork honoring King will be installed in Cedar Rapids. “Every day we have an opportunity to change the lives of the people in our cities and art is one of those ways,” Pate says. “The monument signals a more diverse community which means a community better suited for the younger, more urban professionals we all desire.” City officials like Pate and members of the board from the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa raised private funds for the sculpture. The winning design is called “trumpet” and Pate says words from King’s famous speeches will be carved into the metal. Pate quoted King. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” King once said. Pate calls King’s words a “clarion call to action” and he says the “Trumpet” sculpture will remind those who see it “that we’re all responsible” for keeping King’s dream alive. The new sculpture will be placed in a new plaze that will be created between the African American Museum and the newly-named Martin Luther King, Junior bridge.
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