On June 7, 1981, Dr. Jose Rizal Park and Bridge, named for the Philippine national hero, are dedicated by Mayor Charles Royer (b. 1939) and Philippine Consul General Ernesto A. Querubin. The park and bridge are located in Seattle on 12th Avenue on Beacon Hill. They are named for the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal (1861-1896) and symbolize Seattle’s Filipino American pride. The 8.4-acre park has a commanding view of the Seattle waterfront and Puget Sound. Seattle University Art Professor Valeriano "Val" Laigo (1930-1992) created a mural/mosaic to commemorate this special location.
Jose Rizal was a Filipino physician, novelist, and nationalist martyr. He was born in 1861 on the Philippine island of Luzon, and educated in Madrid and Paris. He published The Lost Eden (1886; trans. 1961), which attacked the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines, and The Subversive (1891, trans. 1962). The Subversive gained wide recognition and helped to spark a reform movement in the Philippines.
Rizal advocated political rights and equality for Filipinos, and criticized the power of the Catholic religious orders in the Islands, though he stopped short of advocating independence. Rizal returned to Manila in 1892. When a revolt broke out in 1896, he was accused of starting it, tried by military tribunal, and executed.
The idea of renaming a Seattle street in honor of Rizal was originally suggested to Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman in 1973 by businessman and Stanford research fellow Trinidad Rojo (1902-1994).