Civil rights leader Rosa Parks passed away in her Detroit home on Monday evening at age 92, following a long battle with dementia. Parks is best remembered for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man. She was arrested and fined, and her actions touched off a massive protest and inspired a generation of civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr.
While legend has held that Parks was “too tired” to give up her seat, she was in reality an active member of the NAACP, fully aware of the consequences of her actions. Elaine Steele, friend and executive director of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, told the New York Times, "She was fed up. She was in her 40's. She was not a child. There comes a point where you say, 'No, I'm a full citizen, too. This is not the way I should be treated’."
Remembered as the “mother of the civil rights movement,” Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965, when she was hired in the office of Representative John Conyers (D-MI), where she worked until her 1988 retirement. “Rosa was a true giant of the civil rights movement,” said Rep. Conyers. “Her bravery, fortitude and perseverance in the face of discrimination served as the very touchstone of the civil rights movement, which in a very real sense began when she refused to give up her seat on the bus. Everyone is this country owes a debt of gratitude to her.”
Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for her civil rights work, and in 1988 spoke to the ongoing importance of civil rights work, saying, ''We must double and redouble our efforts to try to say to our youth, to try to give them an inspiration, an incentive and the will to study our heritage and to know what it means to be black in America today.'' The Reverend Jesse Jackson told the Times yesterday, "She sat down in order that we might stand up. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom."
Media Resources: Associated Press 10/25/05; New York Times 10/25/05; Reuters 10/24/05; Rep. Conyers Office 10/25/05
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .