Rosa Parks’ death reminded me last night of how one person’s small but brave act can sometimes have consequences far beyond what one can imagine. The thing is, the actual thing she did – sitting – is not a big deal. It’s the context that makes it remarkable. I also think of the brave young man who stood up to the tank in Tiananmen Square for example – his brave act also had a ripple effect. He just didn’t move and, because of his bravery, moved many many people. Small things done to combat injustice can turn out to be big things. Sometimes we might think we have no power because the problems are too large for us to deal with. I'm not suggesting that the unknown student in Tiananmen Square changed everything in China. I'm not suggesting that there is no longer racial inequality in the U.S. because of Rosa Parks. But I am suggesting that their small acts of bravery were an important and necessary first step toward righting a great wrong.
I wonder which everyday injustices I am not standing up to. I wonder what things I should be stubborn about. I wonder what consequences my small actions can have.
9 months ago