Ground was broken today for the "Remember Them: Champions for Humanity" monument at a noon ceremony at Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park, located at the corner of 19th and Rashida Muhammad streets, near Telegraph Avenue.
The monument depicts leaders who changed the world, including Maya Angelou, Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller and Mahatma Gandhi.
"Remember Them" uses life-size bronze busts to pay tribute to the humanitarians. The monument is still being created at a workspace in Emeryville. When it is complete, it will weigh more than 40,000 pounds, measure 25 feet tall and 52 feet wide, and cover more than 1,000 square feet.
Oakland artist Mario Chiodo started designing the monument after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It is intended to celebrate peace and diversity, organizers of today's event said.
The monument is a project of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Other major supporters include Kaiser Permanente, AT&T and Bank of America.
It will be formally unveiled in September.