SALEF and the Los Angeles City Council Dedicate a Memorial Plaza and Monument to the Late Archbishop Oscar A. Romero

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Groundbreaking ceremony at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.

Design concept by Mia Lehrer & Associates

The monument will not only serve the Central American community, but it will also offer Angelenos insight into the rich history and culture of our diverse city, said Council member Ed Reyes

The Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF) and Council member Ed Reyes, Los Angeles City Council, District 1 will officially kick-off the construction of the first memorial monument in the United States to the late Monsignor Oscar A. Romero who was killed in 1980 during the civil war in El Salvador. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at MacArthur Park, (corner of 7th Street and Alvarado Blvd., in Los Angeles) on Saturday, June 22 from 12:30pm to 2pm. The event is open to the public.

Hundreds of Salvadorans are expected to join Council member Ed Reyes, SALEF, Parks and Recreation officials, and other local elected officials, and community leaders to celebrate the construction of a monument to Monsignor Oscar A. Romero, a historical figure revered by the area’s large Salvadoran and Central American community. Conceived as a circular plaza so the monument can be viewed and experienced from several angles, with quotes from Romero’s speeches and writings, the new plaza will provide opportunities for education and inspiration.

“MacArthur Park is a popular spot for people throughout Los Angeles, especially those from the Central American community,” said Council member Ed P. Reyes. "The revitalization of MacArthur Park has resulted in a greener, safer park that draws local families, and international visitors, for concerts, picnics and other events. The monument will not only serve the Central American community, but it will also offer Angelenos insight into the rich history and culture of our diverse city," added Reyes.

SALEF, a non-profit local community agency in charge of the project has been working with this project for several years and received funding from the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (former CRA-LA), and the city of Los Angeles AB1290 (to provide long-term maintenance assistance and programming about the life, teachings and history of Oscar Monsignor Romero).

“We are thankful to Council member Ed Reyes and his staff, former CRA and the Los Angeles City Council for recognizing Archbishop Romero’s legacy of love, and commitment to the poor, and for giving a place to him and the Salvadoran community in Los Angeles’s history,” said Carlos Vaquerano, Executive Director of SALEF. “The location of the monument reflects the diaspora of the Salvadoran community into the United States as a result of injustices and violation of human rights during the Civil War and against which Archbishop Romero courageously fought. His story offers an enduring legacy for all those who labor to empower others,” added Vaquerano

Surrounding the plaza will be a low, curved, crescent wall reinforced on the outer edge by a shrub planting bed and four trees, and containing a centrally-placed statue of Monsignor Romero. A Spire of Doves, or “Arbol de la Paz y la Esperanza” (steel post with extending branches with doves flying) will be installed, representing the desire for a long lasting peace and a better future of the Salvadoran and Central American immigrant community in Los Angeles and their countries of origin.

Los Angeles hosts the largest concentration of Salvadorans with approximately one million Salvadorans, living outside of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador intrinsically linking the two cities together. A Los Angeles-San Salvador Sister City relationship was established in 2004 to promote the exchange of culture, economic and education opportunities between the two cities.

For more information about the new memorial plaza dedicated to the memory of the late Archbishop Monsignor Romero, to interview Carlos or learn more about SALEF, contact Carlos Vaquerano at (818) 434-9118.

SALEF’s mission is to advocate for the educational advancement, civic participation, leadership and economic prosperity of Salvadoran and other Latino communities in the U.S.; and to advance democracy and social justice in the U.S. and El Salvador.

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