Thursday, November 03, 2005

John Kerry Introduces Legislation to Honor Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capitol with Statue

Watching Rosa Parks funeral yesterday, there was mention of the fact that the Congress had plans to honor Rosa Parks with a statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.. Here's a statement from John Kerry:

Senator John Kerry today introduced legislation to honor Rosa Parks with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s famed Statuary Hall - making her the first African American honored there. Of the 100 statues in the National Statuary Hall collection, there are currently no African Americans and only eight woman honored.

“Rosa Parks sat down so we could stand up, but not so we could stand still. The bus of prejudice still comes by and each time we have to decide whether to go quietly to the back, or by everyday acts of courage and conviction change the direction of our country. Every American needs to be reminded of her legacy, and one way to keep her legacy alive is to remind everyone who walks through the Capitol - schoolchildren, families, members of Congress and Presidents - that she refused to go quietly to the back of the bus, and we need to follow her example,” said John Kerry.

The Rosa Parks Memorial Statue Act of 2005 is sponsored by Senator Kerry and is co-sponsored by Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Rosa Parks held no public office, but when the history of this country is written, her name and her legacy will be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten,” said Obama. “So it is only fitting that her cause, her beliefs and her struggles be immortalized in the Capitol alongside statues of the men whose hearts her actions helped change.”

“Rosa Parks stands now and forever as one of the giants of American history,” said Levin. “It is crucially important that we remember her courageous actions in our daily lives, and this is a great way to make sure that happens.”

“Rosa Parks showed how one person can truly make a difference in the world. During her life she touched and changed the lives of millions - now that she is gone we need a permanent reminder of her courage so that she can continue to inspire Americans for generations to come,” said Stabenow.

“Rosa Parks’ life and dedication to equal opportunity for each and every American will be forever written in the heart and souls of the nation and in the pages of our history. With her passing, we’re reminded of how much has been accomplished as a result of her sacrifice, but we know the nation still has much work to do to fully live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all. A statue of Rosa in the halls of the United States Capitol will serve as a daily reminder to all who pass by that every act of bravery has the ability to change the world,” said Kennedy.

“Nothing we can do will ever match what Rosa Parks did in that sacred moment on a bus in Montgomery. What matters now is what we do. For Rosa Parks and for our country, it is our time to oppose prejudice, not appease it; to dispel fear, not exploit it; to lift up the many, not the few; and to uphold the true patriotism to do what’s right, not what justifies injustice or past wrongs,” Kerry added. “Sometimes the days seem heavy and the odds seem high, but that moment on a bus in Montgomery always comes. Someone gets on that bus, refuses to equivocate or yield and changes history. Now, that someone must be us, for Rosa Parks and for our country.”

Related Post: John Kerry’s Eulogy of Rosa Parks.


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