...A place for reflection, contemplation and a peaceful dialogue in a serene environment.
The concept of the Peace Garden at California State University, Fresno was born when a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, prophet of nonviolence and Father of the Human Rights Movement in the 20th Century, was dedicated on October 2, 1990.
Other monuments include the first life-size monument in the nation of the late Cesar E. Chavez that was dedicated in the Peace Garden on March 31, 1996. Mr. Chavez was the leader of the United Farm Worker's Union who waged a nonviolent struggle against social injustice, oppression and human suffering experienced by his people, especially the farm workers in an affluent society.
On January 18, 1998, the 80th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Peace Garden statue was unveiled and dedicated. The statue depicts Dr. King in his ministerial robes, holding a small child, which the artist said represents innocence and is symbolic of Dr. King's concern with future generations.
The Jane Addams statue was dedicated in 2006. Jane Addams was committed to the democratic ideals that inspired her many diverse achievements as a social reformer, writer, activist, feminist, and international peace advocate. According to the Peace Garden website, Addams co-founded the Hull-House, which was the first settlement house in the United States, and was president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1931 Ms. Addams received the Nobel Peace Prize and was the second woman and the first American woman to receive that honor. Her life's work was truly spent promoting understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect among people and she is an inspiration to all people. The bronze statue depicts Addams, a tireless champion of women, immigrants and the poor, holding up a child, who in turn lifts up a glass globe.
The Peace Garden was renovated in 2008 and rededicated on Earth Day 2009 as part of the new library project. Improvements to this area have been greatly enhanced to include new walkways, accessible pathways to monuments, enhanced seating and new plantings. Visitors to the library are able to experience the new garden through the north facing glass, while visitors to the garden itself can note the serenity it affords. The improvements allow for both quiet meditation and more accommodating group experiences.