Holidays, special occasion and events are a time for celebration. But what are we really celebrating? We are celebrating our feelings because a celebration without feelings is just another day.
Think about how many times you said your birthday was just another day. Why did you say that? You said it because you weren’t in the mood and didn’t feel like celebrating the occasion. Why are people so warm and friendly? Why do they greet you so kindly during the holidays? People are happy; that’s why. They are in a festive mood and they want to share their good feelings with others. They are spreading their joy.
When we are at an event, we are happy that we are having a good time. We are happy that others are having a good time and we are friendly to others at the event. The event is a good one, the atmosphere is just right, and we are glad that we took the time to participate. We feel good.
So … what is the difference between a normal day and a day of celebration? The answer is feelings.
Derrick D. Richardson
On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus after a long day of work as a seamstress. She sat down. A short while later, as the bus grew more crowded, she was ordered by the bus driver to move toward the back of the bus to free her seat up for a white person. She refused and was subsequently arrested. Her simple, dignified refusal launched the birth of a movement that would change America.
Having been a student at Alabama State College — now Alabama State University — in Montgomery, Ala., in the early 1950s, I experienced some of the inequalities that prompted the civil rights movement. This included being told where I could or could not sit on a bus. Coming from Chicago to Montgomery brought challenges and frustrations due to the racial climate in the South. In addition to the segregated transit system, African-Americans were prohibited from drinking at certain water fountains, using certain washrooms and eating at many restaurants. African-American students faced the inequality of a segregated school system.
While in Alabama I attended a small church in northern Montgomery where Dr. Martin Luther King served as my pastor. Within one week of Ms. Parks’ arrest, Dr. King helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott. An adherent of peaceful, nonviolent protests against injustice, Dr. King simply wanted everyone to be treated fairly and equally. Dr. King wanted a transit system where all passengers, regardless of race, would have equal access to available seating. These efforts led to the desegregation of the Montgomery transit system.
I want to encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on Rosa Parks’ simple act of courageous defiance 60 years ago this December, an act that would help launch the civil rights movement in America. Within a decade of Ms. Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would become law, outlawing discrimination based on race, creed, gender or national origin. The landmark civil rights law would go on to prohibit racial segregation in schools, at work and at public facilities, and ended unfair voting registration practices.
Illinois Secretary of State