People often think that the ordinary person can't really have much impact.Â There is a myth that it is only the politically prominent and those who can command public attention by their name or wealth who really impact history.Â Rosa Parks demonstrates that this myth is false.
Rosa Parks was not widely known when she simply said no to an unjust request to move to the back of the bus.Â She didn't have a lot of money.Â She did not come from a prominent family.Â She was not a great orator.Â But her simple act of quiet defiance to injustice sparked a movement that made an enormous difference in our society.
Rosa Parks never became politically prominent.Â She never became wealthy. Her statements did not make the headlines.Â But she lived her entire life with quiet dignity and a deep faith.Â She labored in the vineyards, never seeking personal glory or aggrandizement.
She was quite unlike any other person honored by having her body lie in state in the Capitol rotunda.Â She is the first woman and only the second person who never held public office to be given this honor. Yet the Congress' decision to do this was noncontroversial.Â Everyone, regardless of political party or place on the political spectrum, recognized that what this very humble woman showed by her life was so important that it merited this rare honor.
How can you honor the memory of Rosa Parks? She would not be interested in receiving a lot of earthly glory.Â We can honor her by saying no with quiet dignity when we face injustice and oppression, not seeking to be the great leader but only to be faithful when the time comes to say we simply can not go along with what is wrong.
-Bill Samuel, October 31, 2005