February is Black History Month and this year we’re starting the celebration by paying our respects to Rosa Parks.
In light of Mrs. Parks’ birthday tomorrow, February 4, 2022, we will be reflecting on what she accomplished for African American civil rights.
Her most well-known contribution dates back to 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. After a long day of work, Mrs. Parks boarded her routine bus to head home. She and three other African Americans sat in the 11th row of the bus. At the time, the front 10 seats of Montgomery’s buses were reserved for white passengers. The bus became crowded and the bus driver James F. Blake ordered Mrs. Parks and the three other passengers to move to make room for the onboarding white passengers.
Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat, arguing that she was not in a designated white seat. Though she was correct the police were called and Mrs. Parks was arrested shortly thereafter for civil disobedience. It was at that moment, however, that her act of courage made history.
Her stand against racial injustice helped inspire a boycott of Montgomery’s buses for over a year and to this day, is remembered as a crucial symbol for the advancement of civil rights and a key moment for combatting racial segregation. In fact, it was through the 381-day boycott that the young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first gained national attention.
While Mrs. Parks was not the first person of color to refuse Montgomery segregation laws on city buses, she was held with great esteem by all that knew her and her peaceful act of protest became a rallying point for the Montgomery bus boycott and civil rights.
As Mrs. Parks famously said, “I believe there is only one race – the human race.” And yet, nearly 70 years later after Mrs. Parks challenged social injustice, we still have work to do.
It’s time to break down the barriers preventing total social equity, and we all have a part to play.
This Black History Month, consider making changes to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEI&A) within your workforce. How you go about executing initiatives to advance DEI&A is up to you and your organization – what matters most is that you make the commitment to achieving them.
To learn what leaders are doing to achieve and sustain DEI&A goals in the workplace, such as gender and race equity, download the research report Trusaic recently sponsored, Creating a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
If your organization needs assistance achieving its DEI goals, check out our professional consulting services and DEI software, PayParity.