WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to add Nystrom Elementary School to the existing Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA and authorize the National Park Service to add other historically relevant sites to the park’s boundaries.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is cosponsoring this legislation, and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“When the United States entered World War II, thousands of California women stepped up to support the war effort,” said Senator Padilla. “Nystrom Elementary School is part of the story of their service on the California homefront during World War II. As women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers, public education for their children also had to adapt. Nystrom Elementary allowed school children to get an education, while their mothers—real life Rosie the Riveters—were hard at work. It is important that we honor and remember the sacrifices of countless families in the mobilization to defeat fascism during World War II. I’m proud to introduce legislation to ensure that our park system preserves the full culture and diverse legacy of all Americans.”
“During World War II, California played an important role in supporting the war effort. Nystrom Elementary School is a significant part of that story. It was built to accommodate the families moving to Richmond to work at the shipyards. Preserving the school as part of the historic park will help honor the sacrifices made by those on the home front,” said Senator Feinstein.
Padilla has advocated for more diversity to be reflected in our National Park System. During a recent hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, he asked Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the Department of Interior nominee Shannon Estenoz how she would work with the Biden-Harris Administration to better tell America’s rich and diverse history at national parks. Padilla noted that “not nearly enough sites celebrate the contributions of women to our nation’s history.”
“Thousands of women in Richmond aided our country on the homefront during World War II and, in doing so, eroded gender barriers by joining the workforce at the Kaiser Shipyards. Each and every one of them deserve to be recognized and to have the story of their patriotism and service preserved for future generations,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “By expanding this culturally significant site to include the Nystrom Elementary School, which was built to teach the children of Rosies while they contributed to the war effort, we can ensure that their legacy lives on in our community and their heroism is never forgotten.”
The Nystrom Elementary School was built during World War II to accommodate the large influx of families that moved to Richmond to assist with the war effort. The school was built as part of a planned development that includes the Maritime Child Development Center, which has already been preserved as part of the park.