Rosa Parks Centenary

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I don’t think most people realize that Rosa Parks did not just impulsively decide to not stand up and give up her seat on that bus. She had arduously, spiritually and psychologically prepared for that moment. She had been to an intensive training on social change and non-violent resistance at the Highlander Folk School. The community had prepared for the all too predictable reaction and the plan for the bus boycott was already in place. The stage was set for this soft-spoken, gracious, Christian lady to become the match that lit the fire to burn the whole house of cards known as Jim Crow down!

But old demons have ways of rearing their heads with new guises. Nixon’s “War on Drugs” has led to horrible consequences. It was aimed at people of color from start to finish, even though drug use is higher among whites who have higher disposable income.

Now, with US incarceration rates higher than any nation ever, even those of apartheid South Africa or Stalin’s Soviet Russia, don’t think that the fight for human rights in this country is over! If you are Latino, you are three times more likely than a white man to be locked up. If you are black, you are eight times more likely to be locked up. Yet crime rates don’t follow the same patterns.

We need several more Rosa Parks’s today.