By Dylan Deprey
“At the time I was arrested, I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.”
She was the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” Rosa Parks was a catalyst for change during the Jim Crow era.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks denied giving up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, AL city bus. While four others moved, she stayed put, and the driver had her thrown in jail.
She said wasn’t tired when they asked her to move, she was “tired of giving in.” Her defiant act was the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement. Her inspiration activated others and the Supreme Court eventually ruled in their favor.
Milwaukee County Transit System announced they will be honoring Parks with an open seat, special placard and a rose on every MCTS bus from Dec. 1-3, to celebrate her activism and commemorate her legacy.
“Rosa Parks was a trailblazer who was guided by the North Stars of equality, justice and compassion to make our country better and stronger,” said County Executive Chris Abele during a press conference Nov. 27.
“As we commemorate her on our buses, we must remember our own obligations to carry her legacy forward and correct the historical and present injustices in Milwaukee County,” he said.
Donna Brown-Martin, Milwaukee County Dept. of Transportation Director, said this was MCTS’s fifth year honoring Parks famous act of civil disobedience. She said the first livestream tribute attracted local teachers the and National media, and they have been doing it ever since.
“It’s so important to keep her in our hearts and share it with our kids,” Brown-Martin said. “MCTS is inviting the community to mark this occasion to remember her bravery, inspiration and grace.”
Earlier this year, the Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs declared racism a public health crisis. Nicole Brookshire, OAAA Director, said the Rosa Parks tribute was an extension of the county’s mission to bring racial equity to public discourse and the decision-making process.
“By refusing to give into racism and oppression, Rosa Parks demonstrated bravery that continues to inspire us six decades later,” Brookshire said.
Abele added that the tribute was a conversation piece during this time of year. He said Rosa Parks spirit should inspire everybody to continue to work towards equality.
“All of us have a responsibility to honor the work of our civil rights leaders, and to do our part to continue, grow and advance our efforts to achieve racial equity and make Milwaukee the healthiest county in Wisconsin,” Abele said.