On the 66th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic act of civil disobedience on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer, Mayor Andre Sayegh, and local community leaders proclaimed December 1st as “Rosa L. Parks Day” on the grounds of the district’s high school name after the civil rights leader.
The entire student body of the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts was present at the outdoor ceremony that commemorated Rosa Parks’ refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white person as a state law required.
“Rosa Parks disobeyed that law to demonstrate how unjust it was,” said Superintendent Shafer. “I ask everyone gathered here, especially our students, how will you choose to honor the legacy of Rosa Parks? Will you begin by renewing your own respect for yourself by considering the role you want to play in the world? Or will you start on this day, Rosa L. Parks Day, to dedicate yourself to making life easier for someone else? We may not all become historic figures like Rosa Parks, but we all have the power that Rosa Parks had to make tremendous change in the lives of other people.”
“Rosa Parks was truly a historic figure and an inspiration to many,” said Mayor Sayegh. “I am proud to joinSuperintendent Shafer in proclaiming December 1st as Rosa Parks Day in the City of Paterson.”
“Rosa Parks’ legacy challenges us to respect ourselves as individuals, to stand against injustice everywhere, and to honor the human dignity in everyone,” said Paterson Board of Education Commissioner Corey Teague. “I am proud that Paterson Public Schools and the City of Paterson are honoring the legacy of this great civil rights leader through the proclamations of ‘Rosa L. Parks Day.’”
The proclamations of “Rosa L. Parks Day” issued by Paterson Public Schools district and the City of Paterson came after the advocacy of local community activities Jimmy Richardson, who was present at the ceremony. In her remarks, Shafer thanked Assistant Superintendent Cicely
Warren and Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts Principal Nicolette Thompson for their work in organizing the event.
Other dignitaries present were N.J. State Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, Paterson Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, President of the Paterson NAACP Reverend Kenneth Clayton.
Members of the high school’s drama club and student participants in the school Youth Equity Stewardship (YES) program gave presentations to honor Rosa Parks’ legacy. The ceremony was emceed by Senior Class President Shamar Williams while Student Government Association Representative Ivan Malave opened the day’s program.