Sacramento is where California’s values are shared with the rest of the country through its legislature. Ever since I became more politically educated, I felt the need to see the place where decisions are made. As an American, it was really rewarding to be able to ask myself what it meant to be from the state of California. I have always thought of this state as somewhere that sets a positive example for the rest of the country by embracing all colors, cultures, and ways of life.
Californian territory was first ruled by Spanish governors that would change the location of the capital from city to city. Funnily enough, San Jose was designated as the capital when California officially became a state in 1850. After a lot of debate, Sacramento became the official capital when it became home of the legislature and dedicated a portion of its city blocks to the capital site. The iconic buildings design is inspired by Roman-Corinthian architecture. In many ways, it symbolizes the ambitious and evolutionary nature of politics as we continue to make history every day.
Capitol Park is regarded as one of the most gorgeous state grounds in the nation. It covers forty acres and the variety of plant life come from many corners of the globe. Interestingly, Memorial grove has saplings that have been transplanted from battle sites from the Civil War, leaving a permanent imprint on the park.
The California State Seal is a beloved symbol of our principles. The warrior in the picture below is Athena, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. The reason this goddess was chosen in particular is because, according to the legend, she was born an adult. Similarly, California wasn’t a claimed territory when it officially became the thirty-first state of the union. A grizzly bear stands by her feet paying tribute to the state’s official animal. The grain behind the two symbolizes the agricultural industry. The term “Eureka” means, “I have found it,” which is the state motto, recognizing the gold rush boom of 1848.
The museum display with the most impact that I saw was from the California Museum. To me, it was shining a light on a part of history that is not taught in school – the forced uprooting of Japanese Americans in 1942. Widespread mistrust and discrimination against Japanese Americans spread after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. One atrocity gave birth to another – what a terrible cycle. Eventually the U.S. began letting Japanese Americans serve their country by fighting in WWII. Even though their families were in incarcerated, they wanted to prove their loyalty. In 1946, the forced imprisonment of families finally ended, bringing a dark part of our history to a close. I felt a powerful need to share this story because it is a shameful part of U.S. history and we do not teach it enough. If we cannot learn from our mistakes in the past then we are doomed to repeat it.