Rep. Joyce Beatty has introduced legislation that aims to make the birthday of civil rights icon Rosa Parks a federal holiday. The legislative efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus Chair are supported by fellow congress members such as Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Terri Sewell of Alabama.
“Through her willingness to sit, Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed in. As a state legislator, I was proud to lead the push to make the Buckeye State the first state to officially recognize Rosa Parks Day. It’s now time for us to come together as a nation to honor this American hero through a new national holiday," Beatty said in a statement obtained by REVOLT.
While Beatty, Sewell and Cooper work in Congress, some states have already begun celebrating the civil rights icon. Each year, California and Missouri honor Parks on her birthday, February 4. Meanwhile, Alabama, Ohio and Oregon celebrate Parks on December 1, the day she famously decided not to give up her seat on a local bus.
“On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks sat so that this nation could stand up for the values that our democracy holds so dear,” Sewell added in a statement obtained by REVOLT.
“Her quiet, dignified courage helped inspire a civil rights movement that changed this country for the better. As the U.S. Representative for Montgomery, I’m so proud to introduce the Rosa Parks Day Act to make December 1st a national holiday in her honor. Such a day will ensure the memory of her brave sacrifice lives on in America’s story for generations to come.”
At this time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the only member of the civil rights movement in the 1960s to be memorialized with a federal holiday. Other leaders like Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks and Ella Baker are only acknowledged by individual states and cities.