Latest park news
City seeks to memorialize the Sidney Dearing family | Sam Richards, Piedmont Exedra | May 17, 2022
Memorial to Dearing family moves forward | Sam Richards, Piedmont Exedra | April 5, 2023
Since May 2022, after first meeting with descendants of the Dearings, a Piedmont Park Commission subcommittee has hosted five stakeholder meetings to help create a plan for a memorial site. Among those stakeholders — the Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee, the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign, community members in the “Sidney Dearing Working Group,” the Piedmont Beautification Foundation, and immediate neighbors of the Triangle Park. Members of the Dearing Family have been working with Piedmont leaders on this project, and City Administrator Sara Lillevand said they’ve been involved in every step of the process, including five meetings of stakeholders.
“Guiding principles” for whatever form the Dearing Family Memorial eventually takes, include honoring both Sidney and Irene Dearing; being visible from the street, not just from inside the park; and making educational elements about the Dearings’ lives and accomplishments, and their history in Piedmont, part of the memorial.
The Dearing family is open to the idea of bronze sculptures or other relevant pieces of physical art. Local Black artists and/or designers would be commissioned to create any such pieces, though Councilwoman Conna McCarthy said she hopes Piedmont High School art students can be part of the process, too.
The city has been working with consultant Cornelia Sylvester on the memorial project. Monday night, Sylvester told the council she has been “surprised and delighted” that Piedmont leaders have made the commitment they have to this memorial project, and that they’re “brought this subject to the surface” over the past two years.
Two descendents of the Dearings — one from Texas, another from Oakland — weighed in Monday night, both welcoming the efforts to memorialize their family and their history.
“The family does hold this historical, horrible event near to our hearts,” said Tympani M., a Texas resident who referred to Sidney Dearing as her great uncle. She has been in contact with subcommittee members in Piedmont. “We all know the horrible things the family went through … and we appreciate you guys having the (nerve) to address it.”
Dearing Park across the street from his previous house (#103).
Sample historical plaque
The internet gives a wide range of costs for a plaque: "The cost can be as much as $5,430 (plus installation costs) or as little as $410 for a standard State or National Register of Historic Places plaque."
Pushback against a plaque
Letter Vice Mayor Tim Rood received in 2021 (original picture from his twitter account on the right, transcribed on left):
Feb. 19, 2021
Dear Vice Mayor Tim Rood,
I wish to urge you to get us out of the racism hole you are digging for us current Piedmonters. I oppose any city apology and monument commemorating the awful treatment of Sidney Dearing, in 1924. My grandkids now in Piedmont Schools were not implicated in that. And neither were you. Acknowledge it, sure, and move on.
Please stop applying collective guilt and "while guilt" and turning over every rock in current city government with the magnifying lens of anti-racism. You should be bringing us together and providing constructive paths to assisting the less fortunate, but not with the lens of race. That is divisive.
The author isn't hard to figure out, they're of a grandparents age with multiple kids in the Piedmont School system. Being a multigenerational child of Piedmont myself there are only a few sets of grandparents with multiple kids in the school system. To protect her grandkids, I wont post her name here.
The "racism hole" in Piedmont did just get dug by Tim and didn't end with Sidney Dearing and family as we have seen with current racist events still happening here in Piedmont.
Mayor Teddy Gray King and the City of Piedmont recognizes Sidney Dearing on April 18, 2022.