She was tired of moving…wouldn’t you be? Some random person gets on the bus after you and demands you give up your seat for him? I mean, it’s almost laughable that someone would have the nerve to be so disrespectful…but then the law says you have to give the seat to him because of the color of his skin…and because of the color of yours? Can you imagine the humiliation? I don’t even want to.
I want you to know, Miss Rosa, that I would have given my seat to you. I want to thank you for your seemingly fearless stand, although I have to assume that you were, in fact, a little afraid. How could your heart have not been racing as that word rose up from the pit of your throat and spilled out of your mouth onto a man as ignorant as that? That word…NO! I wonder if you took the time to think about that word, and the consequences it would have for you, or if that word surprised you as much as it did everyone else on the bus that day.
I want you to know, Miss Rosa, that even as my own children can sit where they want, swim where they want, eat where they want, and go to school where they want…you are not far from my mind. Not just today, a short fifty-five years after you took that fateful stand, but everyday, I am thankful that you were brave enough. Even if, for a split second, you wished that word back into your mouth, I can only imagine the amount of courage it must have taken to repeat it…NO!
I want you to know, Miss Rosa, that I feel relieved to not have experienced those times personally, that I feel honored to have witnessed the progress that’s been made during my own lifetime, and that I feel hopeful for the world as ALL of our children take over where we leave off. I honor you, and the spirit of so many others, by contributing to the future, countless generations that will be touched by what I teach my kids now. I teach them to know what’s right, do what’s right, and I hope I instill in them the strength they need to also say that word when they need to…NO!
Rosa Parks, your legacy belongs to all of us…