June 24 statement by President Castro:

The Fresno State Peace Garden was established 30 years ago as a student-led initiative in support of peace and nonviolent activism. The statues erected in the garden over the years are tributes to a diverse group of individuals who dedicated their lives in the pursuit of equality, social change and justice through peaceful methods. The garden reminds us all that change is possible, and that the fabric of society is greatly strengthened when individuals have the courage to stand up for a just cause.

All four individuals recognized in the Fresno State Peace Garden—Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Jane Addams—embodied the spirit of peaceful and constructive activism. This transcendent quality is what the garden memorializes. It does not necessarily honor every facet of their lives.

We applaud those who call for a clear-eyed look at history and the individuals who shaped it. We also urge everyone to consider carefully the overall significance of each individual’s lasting contribution to a just and fair society. On that basis, we believe those we honor in the Fresno State Peace Garden occupy an important place in history and should continue to guide us in promoting courage, social justice and tireless efforts to make the world a better place.