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Ohio State to host 14th annual statewide tribute to Rosa Parks

Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks waves after being honored in the U.S. Capitol with the Congressional Gold Medal in June 1999. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Ohio State University and Central Ohio Transit Authority will join U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rosa Parks Day founder, to host the 14th Annual Statewide Tribute to Rosa Parks on Dec. 3 at the Fawcett Event Center.

The tribute will start with Beatty leading a forum for community leaders and will continue with a panel discussion about the continuous effects of Parks’ legacy, which remembers her as “the mother of the modern civil-rights movement,” Jocelyn Armstrong, district director of Beatty’s office, said.

Ginette Rhodes, a fourth-year in political science and president of Ohio State’s Chapter of NAACP, will speak on the panel and said she hopes to share the true story of Parks and how she sparked the civil-rights movement.

“I know that a lot of people think she was just on the bus one day and then decided that she wasn’t going to give up her seat, but really it was more of a strategic effort,” Rhodes said. “Hopefully, we will be debunking some of those myths and talking about the empowerment of black women activism and activism in general.”

The panel also will feature Hasan Jeffries, associate professor of history at Ohio State, and Andrea Davis Pinkney, New York Times best-selling and award-winning author. Jerry Revish, WBNS-10 TV news anchor, will be the moderator of the discussion.

In 2005, which was the 50th anniversary of Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man — initiating the Montgomery bus boycott and the modern civil-rights movement — Beatty, who was a state representative at the time, wrote and won unanimous support to pass legislation to make Dec. 1 Rosa Parks Day and a statewide initiative in Ohio.

The theme of Rosa Parks Day is “the power of one.”

“Being that voice and risking imprisonment and all of the sacrifices she made, it was power needed to act as a catalyst for a lot of civil-rights reforms. I think it was one of the most monumental moments in the civil-rights movement,” Rhodes said. “Everyone has the responsibility to make change in the world.”

The community leader forum hosted by Beatty begins at 5:30 p.m., and the panel discussion will start at 7 p.m.

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