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Black America To Democrats Proposing New Rosa Parks Holiday: We Want Substantive Policy, No More Symbolism Spook

Black America To Democrats Proposing New Rosa Parks Holiday: We Want Substantive Policy, No More Symbolism Spook

Parks

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama during the 1955 bus boycott. (National Archives)

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) is pushing for the government to approve a federal holiday to honor civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Sewell, a Democrat who represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, wants the day she was arrested, Dec. 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, to be honored. That day is considered the event that pushed the civil rights movement into high gear. While Parks is revered by many in the Black community, most see this holiday move as mere symbolism and say reparations–not a holiday–is what Black America needs.

Parks, known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” died on Oct. 24, 2005. Sewell wants to honor Parks’ sacrifice with the Rosa Parks Day Act, which would establish Dec. 1 as a federal holiday commemorating her arrest, ABC 10 reported.

The call for substantive policies over symbolism is not new. Black America has consistently emphasized the need for concrete actions to address systemic racism and inequality. One pressing issue that has gained prominence is the call for reparations to address the historical injustices endured by Black Americans. Despite ongoing advocacy, there has been no executive order or presidential reparations commission established to address this critical issue. Federal legislation like H.R.-40, which calls for the creation of a commission to study reparations, has stalled. Even Human Rights Watch has also called for reparations for Black Americans, stating that the U.S. must account for its legacy of enslavement.

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Reparations advocate William Darity, co-author of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century,” has argued that only the federal government has the financial capacity to pay reparations to Black Americans. To close the racial wealth gap, Darity proposes a $14 trillion reparations plan.

When President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021, while many celebrated, many others looked at it as a symbolic gesture without offering any real change for Black Americans. And the lack of policies has driven Black voters away from the Democratic party, Politico reported. Now, with the proposal of Rosa Parks Day, this is again the complaint.

“NOT ABOUT SYMBOLISM! What’s Your Reparations Action Policy Plan SPECIFIC for American Descendants of Chattel Slavery?!!! #ADOSFirst,” tweeted BLACKAmericanMADE-INTERNAL Reparations.

Jay’V tweeted, “Oh great.. more holidays.. is a statue next? Really doing work for people..”

Some called for reparations instead.

“We need Reparations, not a Rosa Parks holiday,” tweeted Reese’s Lai.

CeCe Freedmen called for reparations as well, tweeting, “Stop. Pay the debt owed to Black American Freedmen. Reparations now.”

The date offended others.

“Honoring Rosa parks on the day she was ARRESTED as a federal holiday ? NO MA’AM! This is NOT what we need you to do. If you are not pushing for Reparations and Restorative Justice for Rosa Park’s people, then this is just virtue signaling and another paid day off for everyone,” tweeted RosFromTheDMV.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama during the 1955 bus boycott. (National Archives)