For thousands of residents of Alabama 1st, December 1955 was another cold, autumn day. But just as weather can be unpredictable, no one could tell this time is going to influence and shape future society. Southeastern “Cotton State” made history not only as first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, but also the center of civil rights movement in 50’s. In a world divided by religion, race, and politics there were few who didn’t want to be silenced.
Rosa Parks, the seamstress from Montgomery, got on a bus for home after a long day at work. She didn’t know that in the next few hours she’ll become a part of world-changing movement by violating racial segregation laws. According to city’s ordinance African Americans could sit only in a few rows for “colored” people, so this is what Rosa has been doing for all of her life. Public transportation was defined by strict rules without exceptions. At least that’s what it looked like.
Cleveland Avenue bus moved straight ahead and so did history.
After a while more and more people came in and bus started to fill up. Driver noticed that few white people were standing in the aisle, so he asked four black passengers to give up their seats. Being the only person who refused to move must felt lonely, however, in reality, Rosa wasn’t alone. In the US she was one of hundreds of people who decided to fight for their rights.
In 1963 Martin Luther King continued the movement and gave a hope for millions of people. Equality wasn’t just some wishful thinking anymore and was formed into a tangible idea worth fighting for. This hope for better days started to change into reality.
In 2009, 54 years after Rosa Parks was arrested for civil disobedience, Barack Obama became the first African American president of the United States. That’s a moment that many didn’t even dream of.
It took decades of slavery, humiliation and turning a blind eye to understand that under the skin, no matter which color, we’re humans. What truly matters, is the action we take on a daily basis, our values, and behavior. Unfortunately, not everyone understood those simple facts, so we still need more brave men and women who despite fear will be unstoppable.
The work is simply not done.
Rosa Parks is the icon of human rights, yet after those events, she wasn’t always treated like one. Respect and appreciation came with a price to pay. She had to face criticism and harassment but the stake was higher than herself. It was freedom.
Today we’re way more lucky. Thanks to the Internet we got a huge platform to use our voice and don’t have to worry about going to jail. Making even small steps is easier than ever.
Every time I go to the restaurant, grocery store, make a dinner or buy cosmetics I promote my values and choose kindness over killing. Every month, as a vegan, I’m saving around 250K liters of water, 80sq.m of forest, 540kg of grain, 270kg of Co2 and 30 animal lives. That has to count.
People say one person won’t make any difference and this could be true. The thing is, out of 7 billion people, there’s more than one person who shares your ideas. If those plans and dreams are good, they’ll remain alive and spread over the world. Wars, planet pollution, discrimination, animal extinction, mental and physical abuse is nothing else than destruction. Pretending like it’s not will only make things worse.
I don’t know what is going to happen in next ten or fifty years. All I know is today we have a choice, we can leave everything to chance or actually do something.
Like it or not the world is going to be different. It’s up to us in which direction we will go.
While sitting down Rosa stood up for what she believed. And the whole world changed in this cold, autumn evening 1955.