Air Museum statues are first to honor African-Americans in city

Statues honoring the Tuskegee Airmen were recently put into place outside the Palm Springs Air Museum.

While community members protest the statue of an actress, and city officials look to remove a statue of a politician and businessman, some far less controversial statues are now in place at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Four statues of Tuskegee Airmen recently installed at the entrance of the museum are believed to be the first monuments to African-Americans in Palm Springs. They honor the Red Tail Squadron, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. They are best known for the extraordinary efforts in the air war of World War II, and for challenging the stereotypes that had kept black Americans from serving as pilots in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For one local community organization, the presence of the statues was cause for celebration over the weekend. Brothers of the Desert (BOD), a non-profit group that offers support for Black gay men and allies in the Coachella Valley, spent time Saturday after their membership meeting learning about the subjects of the statues. They heard from Chauncey E. Spencer ll, the son of a Tuskegee Airman, who spoke about the monument and shared his father’s stories.

“Mr. Spencer was a wealth of information about the Airmen and spearheaded the effort to install the statues in front of the Air Museum,” reported one member of BOD. “A very inspiring man and inspiring story that he shared with our group.”


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BRIEFLY

BENCH DEDICATION: A bench honoring Timothy Ray Brown was dedicated May 7 at the city’s Wellness Park. Brown, a Seattle native who gained world renown in 2010 when he revealed his identity as the first person ever to be cured of HIV/AIDS, died last September in his Palm Springs home after a recurrence of cancer. He was 54. The Wellness Park, at the corner of East Tachevah and North Via Miraleste, was created by the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation in the early 2000s as a respite and reminder of the importance of health care and wellness

INSTRUCTORS WANTED: The Mizell Senior Center hasn’t reopened yet, but when it does it will be in need of instructors. If you’re interested in teaching language classes,  offering computer or smartphone instruction, teaching crafts, fine art, dance classes, fitness and exercise classes, or anything else you are passionate about, contact [email protected] to learn more. “Instructors could make a little money, but the main drive is to share your love of a subject,” the center wrote on social media Saturday.

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS

TUESDAY

  • YOUTH CRAFTS: Join staff at the Palm Springs Pubic Library on Facebook and YouTube at 10 AM to watch Children’s Librarian Nancy Valdivia demonstrate how to paint a birdhouse. You can schedule an appointment to pick up a craft kit through May 29. Supplies are limited..
  • TEEN EVENT: Teen librarian Sean Corbin hosts “This is NOT Teen Talk” at 4 PM on Instagram Live.
  • VACATION RENTALS: The monthly vacation rental stakeholders meeting starts at 5 PM. Included on the agenda is a quarterly review of the vacation rental hotline calls, an update on tax revenue, and more. More information on participating or viewing that meeting can be found here.
  • ONE-PS: The monthly membership of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ON-PS) starts at 5:30 PM on Zoom. To participate or view the meeting, go here.

WEDNESDAY

  • PLANNING COMMISSION: The Palm Springs Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM. You can watch the meeting live on YouTube, on the city’s website, or Channel 17 through Spectrum. The agenda is here.

THURSDAY

  • STORY TIME: “Read-To-Me Story Time” with Nancy Valdivia, the city’s children’s librarian, takes place at 10 AM this morning on YouTube and Facebook.
  • BOOK CLUB: The Cover to Cover Book Club meets on Zoom at 2 PM. Librarian Sharon Ballard leads the club the second Thursday of every month. This month the group is discussion “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History,” by Keith O’Brien. For more information, and to join the email list for the group, contact Ballard at [email protected]
  • FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at two locations. A mobile market will be set up at James O. Jessie Desert Highlands Unity Center, 480 W Tramview Rd., between 4 PM and 6 PM, where it resides the second and fourth Thursday of every month. Food is also available at the community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Road, between 5 PM and 7 PM. That location is open every Thursday. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community is available here.

ONGOING

  • OUTDOOR ART: Desert X art installations are on display throughout the Coachella Valley, including several within the Palm Springs city limits. The free event runs through May 16. A map of the installations can be found here. Some require reservations to view.
  • VACCINES: Anyone 16 and older now qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine in Riverside County. If you qualify, you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM through Friday. Appointments are encouraged, but not required, and can be reserved online at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. You can also find a list of community providers such as pharmacies here.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Want to know about city and other municipal events? Road construction in your neighborhood? Building activity? Have something to report? The following links should help:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Currently active development projects

Desert Water Agency calendar

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