Houston Mayor Annise Parker helps dedicate ‘Tolerance’ sculptures inspired by hate crime

Posted on 21 Feb 2011 at 12:42pm


Openly gay Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her predecessor Bill White were among those who spoke last week during the dedication of a set of sculptures called “Tolerance,” at a park not far from the city’s heavily gay Montrose neighborhood. The sculptures were inspired by the death of David Ritcheson, a Mexican-American teen who committed suicide in 2007 after being beaten unconscious and sodomized with a pole in a hate crime. CultureMap reports:

The Houston Arts Alliance-commissioned sculptures of kneeling human figures, composed of multi-lingual melded metal letters resting on Spanish boulders, have been installed at the corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard, and will soon serve as the locus of Harmony Walk and the Rosemont Bridge.

With the downtown skyline as a backdrop, the sculptures encourage Buffalo Bayou joggers and commuters on Allen Parkway to give pause and consider the city’s dynamic diversity.

Plensa, who said he “grew up in a forest of books,” sees the letter as a beautiful metaphor for human beings.

“When you compare ‘A’ with ‘B’ or ‘C’ with ‘D,’ or other characters, they seem different. But how beautiful when you can put them together and build up words. And words with words, text. And text with text, culture,” he said.

Mosbacher, widow of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, detailed her involvement with the project, which was sparked by a vicious 2006 hate crime attack against then 16-year-old Latino student, David Ritcheson, who later committed suicide.

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