Tonight, I am moved. I am watching the Service for Rosa Parks on C-SPAN. I encourage everyone to either watch this on TV if it is rerun or to just purchase a copy of it at the above link.
Hers is a name I've not paid much attention to over the years. In my world, I've not personally witnessed any horrible acts of prejudice. I've always been raised and taught to respect the equality of all, to love all of my neighbors of this world. We are all God's children, simply said. But what a different world and environment I might have known if it was not for Rosa Parks. It humbles me to think what a different person I might have been if not for Rosa Parks.
I need to tape the above service and keep a copy in my home. To watch it the next time I think I've got it tough. To watch it the next time I feel overwhelmed. To watch it the next time I think that my problems are too high to be overcome. She reminds me that with God, all things are possible. If I live for a just God, I don't need to be overwhelmed by what might be an unjust system. She did overcome and I will overcome.
She didn't want to just be remembered as the bus woman. But that's all I remember being taught about her in school. I didn't know that other black Americans had been arrested for similar incidents prior to her. The difference is that she was the first to plead "not guilty" to breaking any law.
It's now that I am proud to remember a story from my white grandfather's youth. He had a good friend who happened to be black. As the story goes, they would go to the movies together. The law being what it was, his friend was not allowed to sit on the main floor seats but rather was segregated to the balcony seats. Their easy solution was that my grandfather would just sit up in the balcony with his friend and the rest of the moviegoers of color. There was no law against that. It seems that my grandfather was a highly evolved young man and I'm proud to know him.
Of course, I'm sure that I have ancestors whose stories are not as nice. I just don't know those stories. What is important to me though, is that I am to my children and future grandchildren what my grandfather is to his children and grandchildren: a man they are proud to know, and a man Rosa Parks would be proud to know.
May God bless you, Rosa Parks. We needed what you gave us. Thank you.
Here's a link to a bio of her life's work.