What do I know of Rosa Parks? A sweet little old woman who sat down and made history. A lady from another time and era, long long ago. When did I start to realize the full implications of her story or her protest? Not until yesterday (when I was reading this book) did I realize that when she was arrested in 1955 for civil disobedience it was the second time--the first had been back in 1944, also due to protesting the fact that she had to stand in the back of the bus while empty seats abounded in the whites-only section. This was a revelation. For eleven years Rosa Parks plotted and thought and prayed and educated herself and went to trainings. Rosa Parks worked hard as seamstress and she went to church and listened and when the time was right she made her stand. She was a spark. She was ready. It wasn't an accident. It wasn't long ago at all. The underlying tensions remain, though the way we segregate is more slippery to behold. Once you see it, though, you can never go back to pretending to be blind. For me this happened several years ago, for others it is happening right this second. And of course, for communities of color, they have known since day one.
Equality and change and justice doesn't come by accident. It comes through fierce preparedness and an unwavering belief in the rights and dignity for all. Going forward, in order to demand these rights for others, I will be taking the lead of Rosa Parks and others who have been living through this since America was founded. I am grateful for her. I am grateful to know she was arrested twice. I am grateful to move forward in a fight that will not be over soon. I am grateful that I get to prepare.