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California Memorial Project (CMP) Remembrance
September 16, 2019 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
The California Memorial Project (CMP) seeks to honor and restore dignity to individuals who lived and died in California state institutions. From the mid-1800s to the 1960s, it is estimated that more than 45,000 individuals died while residents in state institutions. For the most part, the remains of the individuals were placed in unmarked or numbered graves in mass sites, where numbered markers long ago disappeared. Many records identifying where bodies were buried have been misplaced or destroyed.
The California Memorial Project is a collaborative effort co-founded in 2002 by DRC’s Peer Self Advocacy Unit, People First of California and the California Network of Mental Health Clients. In 2002, Senate Bill 1448 (Chesbro) created the California Memorial Project (CMP) and established a task force to identify the names of people who were buried at state hospitals and developmental centers and to locate and develop a plan to restore gravesites on facility grounds. In 2010, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 123 (Chesbro) proclaimed the 3rd Monday of each September as California Memorial Project Remembrance Day. Ceremonies are held on that day throughout the state on the grounds of current and former state institutions, including a statewide moment of silence to honor people who lived and died in these institutions without the acknowledgement and respect they deserved.
The first monuments were placed at several sites in Stockton to memorialize people who died while living at the Stockton Developmental Center, which closed in 1996. When the location was converted to the campus of the California State University (CSU) – Stanislaus, 42 sets of remains were discovered during construction and reinterred at the Stockton Rural Cemetery, where a monument was placed in 2008. A dedication ceremony was held on campus upon the completion of these monuments in June of 2008.
In our area two remembrance ceremonies are held. One at the Stockton Rural Cemetery, near the gravesite where individuals from California State Institutions are buried. We have approximately 100 people attend the ceremony. Unfortunately, the cemetery isn’t accessible to all who would like to attend. And a second site in Manteca, just off of French Camp Camp at the Park View Cemetery.