Public Artwork for the Future Pomona Gold Line Station Stephen Farley, Artist

Hall of Gratitude

Maria Velasquez

Submitted by Fernando de Martinez

Maria showed me the power of community

When I met Maria In 2014, one of the first things that she told me about herself is that she had a Little Free Library in front of her house. Among the many things that made me fall in love with her, this was one of them. She told me that a few years before, the City of Pomona was struggling to keep their library open and the hours had been cut drastically. She took it upon herself to start a community library so that her neighbors would have access to free books, and schoolchildren would have a place to go to not only get books, but also to see an example of how one person can help their community work through tough times and inspire others.

Now there are many Little Free Libraries in the City of Pomona. Maria’s library has expanded to a much larger library courtesy of the Rotary Club of Pomona. She started a Little Pomona Pantry during the pandemic last year to provide items that neighbors may need such as toilet paper, shampoo, socks, clothing, shoes, and non-perishable food. She never ceases to amaze me with the ways that she gives back to her beloved Pomona. A lifetime resident in the same home, graduate of Pomona High, Mt. San Antonio College, and Cal Poly Pomona, Maria has always put her city and its residents first. I am proud to live with Maria, the love of my life, my inspiration, my rock, and the one person that I truly believe embodies what one woman can do for her city and the world.

Photos & stories of people from Pomona who made a difference

Gabe showed me the power of courage