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
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .