Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fifty years after Rosa Parks...

50 years ago today the late Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. The incident sparked the famous bus boycott and it's credited as one of most important moments in the long fight to eliminate laws that enforced racial discrimination. The end of legal segregation has not solved the problem. Half a century later, racial separation persists, at school, at church, on the job and in the communities where we live. Most of us live in communities where the people around us look the same as we do. The most segregated region in America is the Midwest. At this link you can listen to an interview with Georgetown University law professor, Sheryll Cashin, author of The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class are Undermining the American Dream.

I just finished Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol. Kozol visited 60 schools in 11 states over a five-year period and finds, despite the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, many schools serving black and Hispanic children are spiraling backward to the pre-Brown era. These schools lack the basics: clean classrooms, hallways and restrooms; up-to-date books in good condition; and appropriate laboratory supplies. Kozol argues that school segregation is still the rule for poor minorities and he believes a new civil rights movement will be necessary to eradicate it.
“’He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the Lord.”
                     --Jeremiah 22:16

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