City Leaders Unveil Plaza and Shade Structure at Women’s Memorial Park

November 25th is International Day for Elimination of Violence Toward Women and a ray of sunlight will illuminate the center of the plaza.

November 25, 2022

Today, City Councilor Klarissa Peña, Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael, Chief of Police Harold Medina, and the Parks and Recreation Department unveiled the newly constructed plaza and shade structure at the Women’s Memorial Park on Albuquerque’s West Mesa. The shade structures are inspired by organic leaf and flower petal shapes and signify the perseverance of the spirit. They gently slope up toward the sky reflecting life seeking sunlight. Sunlight also creates a powerful moment of remembrance, on November 25th, a ray of sunlight is cast by the large shade structure and illuminates the center of the plaza. November 25th is International Day for Elimination of Violence Toward Women and serves as a reminder of preventable pain and suffering.

Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 1 Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 2

“This park is a space for remembrance and for celebration of life,” said Councilor Peña. “The addition of this plaza and shade structure with the interaction of sunlight provides a special space for family members to honor their loved ones.”

The plaza and shade structures at Women’s Memorial Park creates a central gathering space that brings people together in a moment of quiet reflection. The concentric oval shape focuses the energy of the park, uniting the women who were tragically lost. The joint patterns radiate out from the heart of the park toward the individual name recognition spaces around the perimeter walking path.

“The Parks Department’s goal for this place is to memorialize these Albuquerque women, but also to illuminate the need to end all violence against women around the world,” said Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave Simon.

Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 3 Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 4

The etched granite in the center and southern edge of the plaza incorporates passages from the poem on the memorial stone at the entrance to the park. The inscriptions in the southern band reads “Until the Day Comes We’re Together Again”, signifying the unification of all women who have experience violence with their families and friends. The central oval reads “Keep Smiling and Surely the Sun Will Shine Through”, reminding us of the persistence of life and spirit in the face of hardship and pain. 

Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 5 Womens Memorial Park Phase 2 6

The Women’s Memorial Park is located at the site where the remains of eleven women and an unborn child were discovered in 2009. The park, opened in 2020, is now a place for remembrance of the women’s lives and who they were as daughters, mothers, sisters, cousins, and friends.

The park design was approved by the families, and they were instrumental in selecting trees, shrubbery, benches, and other design features. The name of each woman is etched into the oval-shaped path around the park. Across from each name sits a bench and a tree specially selected by the families. The site is considered very sacred to the families of the women who were discovered buried there. The cases are still under investigation, but the City of Albuquerque hopes that the Memorial Park will offer a sense of comfort to the families for celebration, remembrance, and reflection.

Total cost for this Phase 2 was $323,673, funded with City GO Bond Funds, Councilor Set-Aside Funds, and State Capital Outlay Funds.