10 things to know about Sacramento’s Unity Center
Grand opening features Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Lisa Ling
Mike Luery, NBC 3
Aug. 24, 2017
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) — Unity Center opens in Sacramento this Saturday at the California Museum.
The center, which will feature interactive exhibits, is a direct response to the “Summer of Hate” that swept through Northern California in 1999.
The opening this weekend comes at a time when political extremism is on the rise as exemplified by the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the 2016 riot at the Capitol.
Here are 10 of things to know about the Unity Center:
- The grand opening is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It will include a block party, food trucks and free admission for all visitors.
- The Unity Center is a permanent exhibit located on the second floor of the California Museum, located at 10th and O streets in downtown Sacramento.
- The project is 18 years in the making. It comes as a direct response to the firebombings of three synagogues in June 1999. “I’ll never forget that day,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “I’ll always remember just how shocked and disbelieving I was.” Steinberg’s temple, Congregation B’nai Israel, was heavily damaged in the incident.
- Two brothers, both white supremacists, were convicted in the firebombings and the murder of a gay couple in Shasta County.
- After the attacks in 1999, then-Mayor Joe Serna joined together with civic leaders to announce plans for a center preaching tolerance.
- Nearly 20 years later, the Unity Center is now a $2 million project, funded by corporate sponsorships and grants. The major benefactors include Sutter Health, the Sacramento Republic FC and Google.
- The project includes a 4,000-square-foot gallery of pictures, panels and a classroom dedicated to discussions about peaceful interactions between individuals and groups.
- The center is interactive and designed to get people to talk. “We’re really trying to motivate people to come in and take an active stance against hate, intolerance and bullying,” said Amanda Meeker, executive director of the California Museum.
- Unity Center are already reaching out to school groups. “We can get the school kids here,” said Ron Rohovit, program director for the Unity Center. “We’ve developed a variety of programs and activity sheets.”
- The Unity Center is expected to attract 175,000 visitors each year.