The Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California, on Mission Inn Avenue, is set to receive $500,000 from the 2023-24 state budget, thanks to Senator Richard Roth. The funds are earmarked to develop an electronic archival system to document the oral histories of Californians who have significantly influenced civil rights in the region. Additionally, the allocation will support enhancements to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Downtown Riverside, a project overseen by the Riverside African American Historical Society.
Senator Roth commented on the importance of the Institute, which opened last fall: “Our civil rights history is too often overlooked. The Institute centralizes these critical stories of our past. In the face of rising censorship and those who seek to revise history, the Institute is a beacon that highlights the long civil rights journey from the past to today and the potential of the future.”
Rose Mayes, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, praised Senator Roth’s efforts, noting, “Senator Roth’s dedication to uniting Riverside with the Inland Empire has been significant. With the funds for the MLK site on Main Street and the archival project, the history of the Inland Empire and its influential residents will be preserved for future generations.”
Sabrina Gonzalez, executive director of the Civil Rights Institute, emphasized the importance of the funding: “This support is vital for our digital archive, which will safeguard the region’s civil rights history and ensure the lessons from our community are carried forward. The resources from Senator Roth will bolster the continued efforts of community members in this essential endeavor.”
The Civil Rights Institute is the flagship feature of the 92,000-square-foot Mission Heritage Plaza which includes 72 housing units for families and homeless/disabled veterans and serves as the new headquarters for the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.