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A hero shares the recipe
for justice
Posted October 28, 2005

Yelena Ovcharenko
LV Life Editor

Monday was one of those days that seemed to get worse after you thought that the mishaps have reached their threshold.

In accord with the gloomy weather, horrible traffic, and piles of homework, I watched the announcement of Rosa Park’s death.

It was hard to imagine that a person who influenced a large chunk of this nation’s history was gone from the face of the earth forever.

Parks, a woman who was responsible for catapulting the civil rights movement in 1955, became my icon with her persistent and long fight for justice.

As a nine year-old I remember staring at my teacher in awe as she introduced me to the fascinating story of Rosa Parks.

Who would have thought that sitting in a seat on the bus after an exhausting day could rivet the civil rights movement, or better yet force that government to throw you into jail?

Waiting at the bus stop wearily after a long day at work, stepping up the
metal stairs, inserting several coins into the slot and getting a stub in return, dragging heavy feet slowly down the aisles and slumping down on a vacant seat—it seemed to be a typical routine at the bus stop until a “white man” demanded her seat.

Her defiance and refusal to empty her seat at a bus driver’s order in Montgomery started a 186 day bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr. that eventually escalated to protests and law suits.

I have always admired Park’s strong will and fearless nature, even though
it was difficult for me to imagine myself handing a bully a brick in grade school after he threatened to attack me as Parks did in her childhood. Her book “Rosa Parks: My Story” showed me that women can make a difference in society and that standing up for my rights should be an essential task in my life.

In an attempt to be more like Parks, I try to fight for equality and
remember that the majority is not always correct.

One of the most valuable lessons that Parks taught me was that freedom is something that I need to step up and fight for. It shouldn’t be something that others can mindlessly trample over.

Quietly accepting laws that I do not agree with will eventually limit my rights and escalate the government’s oppression over me.

As Rosa Parks did we should stand up for freedom and exercise our right of a voice. We should stand up to Bush and Schwarzenegger and vote against the propositions that limit our freedom and stall this nation’s progress.

I mean, is it worth going to war with Iraq to fix the nation’s problems when by doing so our country is forced into a multi-billion dollar debt.

I believe that the upcoming special election is the ideal time to do so.

This is the time to question whether or not parental permission for abortions is needed, or if the government should be obligated to pay schools the promised amount because these propositions might cause us to protest and start a long fight for freedom and justice.

Parks defiantly placed her pursuit of happiness above the government’s ridiculous laws and revealed that I should seek justice and fight aggressively for it, because as my psychology teacher says, “It’s better to be pissed off than to be pissed on.”

Yelena Ovcharenko, a junior journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at