To commemorate the history of peaceful protest and social turmoil in Isla Vista in the 1960s and 70s, the Perfect Park Peace Monument will be unveiled on June 10.
The celebration will be held on the 33rd anniversary of a pivotal event of I.V.’s involvement in nonviolent demonstration. On June 10, 1970, police tear-gassed 1,000 protestors in Perfect Park who were protesting the imposition of a sunset curfew in I.V. Police arrested 390 demonstrators. Superior Court Judge Joe Lodge released all 390 the next morning without charges.
“This incident marked the end of the occupation of I.V. by police who’d come in and broken down doors,” Monument Committee Chairman Bob Potter said. “Many people saw it as the beginning of a real community.”
The ceremonies will be held from 5-7:30 p.m., with the official program starting at 6:00 that evening. The program will include the reading of a statement by Congresswoman Lois Capps and speeches by Dean of Students Yonie Harris and Associated Students President Chrystine Lawson. There will be a sing-along of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and a brief historical overview of the park presented by Potter, author of The Campus By the Sea Where the Bank Burned Down. At the end of the program, there will be an open mic session.
The Perfect Park Peace Monument Implementation Committee spawned from a movement to save Perfect Park, which was threatened by the development of St. Ignatius Church in the early 1990s. The committee has raised $25,000 in private donations to pay for the monument.
Potter attributes an increased public interest in peace movements to the war in Iraq. He said an article on the monument in the Los Angeles Times motivated an anonymous donor to give $9,000 to the fund. This raised total funds from $16,000 to the necessary $25,000.
“There’s not that many peace monuments, but there’s lots of war memorials. [The war in Iraq] brought back to all of us how perennial the issue is,” Potter said. “It isn’t just something we protested for in Vietnam.”
Local artist Colin Gray was chosen to design the monument after a nationwide competition. The monument features four paths meeting in a round sitting area. It is composed of four stone benches connected by metal trellises. The four paths represent the four ways to peace: the way of the teacher, warrior, visionary and healer.
Gray, who is originally from the United Kingdom, has lived in the Santa Barbara area for over 20 years. He taught in the College of Creative Studies for nine years and retired in 1993.
“I’ve been working with forms that echo this for a number of years,” Gray said. “I was inspired by Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist who wrote The Four-Fold Way. It is a book about how to keep a life in balance.”