Vice Pres­ident of Wash­ington Oper­a­tions Matthew Spalding, Victims of Com­munism Memorial
Foun­dation founder Lee Edwards, and Her­itage Foun­dation founder Edwin Feulner with the “Goddess of Democracy” statue at the Kirby Center in Wash­ington, D.C. Hillsdale College

“The Goddess of Democracy,” a statue memo­ri­al­izing the more than 100 million victims of com­munism worldwide, now resides in the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship. The statue is on loan from the Victims of Com­munism Memorial Foun­dation, a non­profit orga­ni­zation which seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of communism.

According to Matthew Spalding, vice pres­ident of Wash­ington oper­a­tions and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of States­manship, the VOC needed a place for the cast until it could be moved to the organization’s museum, which is scheduled to open later this year.

“Instead of putting it in storage, the Kirby Center can display the statue as a piece of art and a loan of great sig­nif­i­cance,” Spalding said.

According to Dani Urankar, oper­a­tions asso­ciate for VOC, the original statue was created by Chinese art stu­dents and democracy demon­strators in May 1989. Con­structed in four days from foam and papier-mache, the 33-foot tall statue was destroyed by a tank during the gov­ernment crackdown on June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square.

After the fact, sculptor Thomas Marsh made a series of bronze replicas of “The Goddess of Democracy” and erected them in cities around the world, Urankar said in an email. 

In 1993, the U.S. Con­gress unan­i­mously passed leg­is­lation autho­rizing the design and con­struction of the statue in Wash­ington, D.C., to honor those who suf­fered under com­munism. The statue, which is located on the corner of New Jersey Ave NW and Mass­a­chu­setts Ave NW on Capitol Hill, was ded­i­cated in 2007 by Pres­ident George W. Bush. The Kirby Center is hosting the original cast of the D.C. statue.

Claire Marr, exec­utive assistant and pro­grams coor­di­nator at the Kirby Center, said Hillsdale is grateful for the oppor­tunity to partner with VOC and defend against communism.

“There are part­ner­ships across all of D.C.,” Marr said. “It’s been great to see these small ges­tures of friendship to defend freedom.”

Lee Edwards, the co-founder and chair emeritus of the VOC, gave a pre­sen­tation when the cast was placed in the Kirby Center and spoke about the history and sym­bolism of the statue, according to Spalding. 

“This statue was an important symbol for China and was modeled after the Statue of Liberty,” Spalding said. “It keeps the question of com­munist rule alive and helps us remember that this problem is not resolved.”

Located by the central stairwell of the Kirby Center, the 10-foot cast is on display with a sign explaining its history serves as a reminder to the stu­dents who pass it on their way to classes everyday, Spalding said.

“Stu­dents and vis­itors can read the story, learn, and be reminded about the impor­tance of pro­tecting human rights and democracy,” Spalding said. “We need to uphold liberty around the world.”