State Senate OK's plan to install statue of La Jollan Sally Ride in U.S. Capitol
Published - 04/16/15 - 09:28 AM | 2721 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The California Senate April 13 approved 22-10 a proposal to place a statue of late astronaut and La Jolla resident Sally Ride inside the U.S. Capitol. The move isn't without controversy, as it may lead to the removal of another prominent Californian's likeness.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D. San Diego) is an author of the resolution. The plan must still be approved by the Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown.

At 32, Ride became the first American woman in space, aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. Following her NASA career, she promoted science education among girls through the La Jolla nonprofit Sally Ride Science. The Stanford-educated physicist died of pancreatic cancer in 2012 at age 61.

Ride would be the first acknowledged gay or lesbian person with a statue in the collection. She would also be the first woman from California enshrined in the hall. Sen. Ricardo Lara (D., Bell Gardens), the proposal's chief author, said the addition of Ride’s likeness would thus build on California’s tradition of breaking from convention.

Washington, D.C.'s National Statuary Hall, home to several likenesses of noteworthy Americans, also contains a statue of Catholic Spanish missionary Father Junipero Serra, who in the 18th century established the spread of Christianity through the future state's missionary system. With the addition of Ride's likeness, Serra's statue would be retired. Amid Republican senators' objections, Lara said Serra's statue wouldn't be removed for some time as the piece is commissioned and wrought.

Serra is set to be canonized by Pope Francis later this year.

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