Freedom should be an inalienable right of all people of this world. This is why the Freedom Sculpture that was gifted to the United States on July 4th, 2017 was a monumental gift showcasing the core American Values of Freedom. The last widely crowd-supported monument gifted to the U.S. was The Statue of Liberty, led by the French in 1886. On July 4th, 2017, Los Angeles will officially have accepted The Freedom Sculpture, a gift from the Iranian-American community and over 1 million supporters from over 50 countries. The Freedom Sculpture honors freedom, cultural diversity and inclusiveness — a set of universal humanitarian values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that originated in Persia 2,500 years ago under the rule of Cyrus the Great.
The Freedom Sculpture: Freedom a Shared Dream, a monument honoring core American values of freedom, cultural diversity and unity, has raised more than $2.2 million, nearing the minimum goal of $2.5 million needed to complete the project. With over a million supporters from more than 50 countries following its progress on social media, the Freedom Sculpture has also become the most crowd-supported public monument gifted in U.S. history spearheaded by “Farhang Foundation”, a nonpolitical, nonreligious, not-for-profit Iranian-American cultural foundation. “We had a vision of the Iranian-American community and the people of Los Angeles coming together to help create the Freedom Sculpture, making it a gift that celebrates the cultural diversity of our city,” said Freedom Sculpture Chair and Farhang Foundation Vice-Chairman Farhad Mohit. “We did not expect the outpouring of support from all over America and the rest of the world that is turning the Freedom Sculpture into a symbol of love and unity for all humanity.”
Designed by award-winning architect and artist Cecil Balmond O.B.E., the Freedom Sculpture is a large-scale contemporary interpretation of the 2,500-year-old Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient Persian artifact widely considered to be the first declaration of human rights. The Freedom Sculpture is a historic gift to the City of Los Angeles symbolizing freedom, multicultural coexistence, and respect for diversity for all-highlighting American values enshrined in the constitution and embodied by the kaleidoscope of people and cultures who live harmoniously together in greater Los Angeles. “Los Angeles has more than four million people from 100 countries who speak over 220 languages,” said Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti. “Our city has been a place of shared cultures and traditions from the moment of its founding, and our diversity remains our greatest strength. The Freedom Sculpture is a testament to the values we hold dear, and we are honored to receive it.”
The Freedom Sculpture stands in the heart of the city, at a major public transit median on historic Route 66 (on Santa Monica Blvd at Century Park East), where it will be seen by tens of thousands of Angelenos and visitors every day as they drive to and from Beverly Hills. Four years in the making, the Freedom Sculpture has been an initiative led by the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles, but fueled by enthusiasm on the social media worldwide. More than a million people have joined the online community in the past year alone with over ten thousand more joining every day to support its creation, including ten Ellis Island award winners and immigrant-American visionaries such as, Elon Musk founder of Tesla and SpaceX; Sir Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital; Salar Kamangar, ex-CEO of YouTube, and many more who have made major donations to the project.
By comparison, the last major crowd-supported monumental gift to America, the Statue of Liberty in 1886 needed more than 20 years to gather support from the one hundred-thousand French and Americans needed to raise the funds required. Of course, today, in the age of social media, good ideas spread quickly and people everywhere are encouraging friends to support the Freedom Sculpture through the project’s Facebook page or by making a donation at FreedomSculpture.org. Also a uniquely modern incentive is that all financial donors to the Freedom Sculpture, no matter the amount, become part of the permanent legacy of this monumental landmark with their names forever memorialized on the project’s online donor wall.
Appropriately, the Freedom Sculpture was unveiled on Independence Day, July 4th, 2017 at the inaugural LA Freedom Festival, a free public celebration and official ceremony that drew tens of thousands of Angelenos. In addition to the official gifting and unveiling, the LA Freedom Festival included musical performances and a dramatic fireworks display.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Tirgan Magazine.