KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Legacy of Rosa Parks

We forget sometimes that each of us, as individuals, can begin to change the world with just one small, quiet action. We mistakenly think that it always takes groups of thousands, working for years, to start rooting out injustice. Rosa Parks showed us otherwise.

She died yesterday evening, at age 92, but her spirit will live on in people everywhere who decide they've had enough and refuse to play the game of racism, of discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity, of poverty, of sexism, ageism, of discrimination because of a person's looks, of imperialism.

Rosa Parks lives on in the person who asks someone to stop telling a racist joke.

Rose Parks lives on in the person who writes a letter to legislators in support of legalizing marriage between two same-sex people.

Rosa Parks lives on in the person who proposes to city or county or state legislators that they open a food bank.

Rosa Parks lives on in the person who raises daughters to like their bodies.

Rosa Parks lives on in the person who protests against America's illegal war in Iraq.

Rosa Parks lives on in you.


4 comments:

Dr. Fallon said...

Beautiful, Katharine. I was wondering exactly what I'd say about Rosa Parks. I've decided you said it better than I could begin to.

Anonymous said...

So very right! Lovely tribute.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that Rosa Parks would agree with some of the examples you give as an example of her living on in the person who does A, B, or C. As an African American Woman, I am perplexed that you so easily connect what the African American person has gone through in this country/Civil Rights -- to any other political, moral, or ethical issue. It's not all the same.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thanks for your comment, Anon #2.

Perhaps Ms. Parks wouldn't agree with some of my examples, but she would agree with the idea that people should speak up for what they believe is right. That was the point I was trying to make—that she was a great person just for speaking up. Lots of people, whether they are African American or of another ethnic group, whether they are women or men, don't have the courage to speak up when they see something that they perceive as wrong.

No, as a white woman, I cannot claim to understand exactly what it is like to experience the prejudice that African Americans have experienced and experience still (though I have experienced prejudice because I am female). But I can understand the example she set for all people of not letting wrongs continue.

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