Older woman in red hat

Rosa Parks

I appreciate Congresswoman Joyce Beatty's annual commemoration of Rosa Parks on December 1. At the time of Ms. Parks' death on October 24, 2005, Ohio's 3rd District Congresswoman Beatty acted to declare December 1, Rosa Parks Day in honor of her actions on that day in 1955, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

We must continue to speak up for the voiceless in Black History and current events. Claudette Colvin is another one of those unsung (s)heroes. At age fifteen Ms. Colvin preceded Parks' action by nine months when she refused to give up her seat on the bus on her way home from Montgomery, Alabama High School. When asked why she did not give up her seat, she referred to Black History and answered: "it felt as though Harriet Tubman's hands were pushing me down on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth's hands were pushing me down on the other shoulder. https://www.southernliving.com/culture/claudette-colvin

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's inspiring call, "Let freedom ring" coincides with the spoken values of our democracy. Students on the other side of the world heard Dr. King's, Rosa Parks and the 1961 "Freedom Riders''' messages when they boarded a segregated "Jews only" bus from the West Bank of Occupied Palestine to East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Freedom Riders asserted their right to liberty and dignity by interrupting the Israeli Occupation Forces with nonviolent action. Their goal was to challenge Israel's policies that ban Palestinians from Jerusalem, and the apartheid policies administered by the military and settler occupation that is the base of Israel's colonial regime.

I encourage Congresswoman Beatty and all government officials to extend civil rights into all the workings of the US government. As Rep. Beatty is co-chair of the Black-Jewish Caucus, I hope she will speak up for the nearly forgotten Palestinian People that suffer needlessly under Israel's apartheid regime. I urge the Black-Jewish Caucus to work to restore the human rights of Palestinians suffering under 5-decades of military occupation by Israel; an occupation financed by the US government.

We must all strive to live up to the democratic principles and protect human rights, just as we treasure these values for ourselves, our loved ones, and the collective community.