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Remembering Rosa Parks

By | 2005-10-27T09:00:00-04:00 October 27th, 2005|Opinions|

Dear BTL,
It’s after midnight and I can’t sleep…
I told my friend and loved one who happens to be white that I was sorry if I seemed kind of down. Sitting on his couch watching the news lead off with the news about Rosa Parks, I just felt incredibly lonely. You see, you can be in another’s company, yet still feel lonely. I was sad for a minute, then I felt that Rosa Parks wouldn’t want anybody feeling sorry. She would want all her queer children to smile. After all, what she did in the 1950s took a lot of courage. She could’ve been beaten or killed; it happened to others all the time. She was a pioneer and the spark that started all freedom movements – let alone civil rights.
My friend says, “So she died,” but isn’t it ironic that those words come from the lips of a gay man. So many gay white men just don’t see the connection between themselves and this feisty colored woman who stood up for her rights. I’m sure when the news broke TVs shut down all over metro Detroit… mostly white folks saying “so what.”
But I say her contribution to civil rights gave it the sense of urgency that got the ball rolling for women’s rights and gay rights. Her experience and struggle is part of the fabric of all Human Rights. Imagine yourself being beaten for just wanting to be free to live your life your way. That happened a lot the decade before I was born, in all parts of this country. Hell, they’d lock you up and throw away the key in some places, because they’d think you were mentally ill for loving someone of the same gender.
The story of her passing is more than just hard facts. You may already know about her life. But do you know about the relevancy of her life to ours?
I’m watching the news as I type. And I think I’m going to have a good night’s sleep.

Rich Long,
Ferndale

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.