By: C.J. Williams
1. When Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on a bus in 1955 to white man, she wasn’t just too tired to be bothered with getting up.
What she was tired of was injustice.
She knew the line drawn between human beings with different skin colors was absurd, unjust, and cruel. The same cruel, unjust line is drawn between born and preborn people. When she refused to stand up, she was standing up for the truth and she was making a statement -- without speaking, and without standing.
She was tired of injustice, but she was not tired of acknowledging reality -- the reality that all men and women are created with equal value. Even though she was the only one on that bus with the guts to act like it.
So steal this one from Ms. Parks: Get tired quickly of injustice. Never get tired of standing up -- or sitting down for reality -- the reality that human life has inestimable value, from birth to natural death, regardless of social status, skin color, or level of development or use.
2. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus in 1955, she stood up for her convictions. You don’t always have to stand up literally, speak up literally, or plan a national event, to make your voice heard. Sometimes, it really is the small things -- the way you live your life, what you accept or refuse, that speaks more than any speech you could give, or any protest you could make.
I’ve grown up in a world that permits -- even celebrates -- the taking of innocent human life through abortion. As a middle-schooler, I learned that I had at least 6 cousins.
Only 2 of them had been granted the chance at life, and birth.
The others? Aborted. I grew up in a nation that celebrated exceptional kids, that touted the image of superwoman: the mom who had gone to school, got a law degree, had a career, and two or three beautiful, healthy kids to boot.
I grew up in a culture that under that surface sheen babbled the cant that poor, underprivileged women could only get there if they accepted the ultimate sacrifice: their children. Hey, girl, we gonna help you. You’re poor. You’re an immigrant. You can do ANYTHING. Except keep that kid. Abort, and you can finish your BA, have money, be a real woman.
This double standard doesn’t just affect the millions of children dead, the millions of women robbed of their babies -- it affects every one of our generation. Our value has been stuck slap on the knife-edge of wanted or useful.
I am offended and furious. The lives of my cousins deserved respect -- they deserved life and birth.
Yet that doubt undermining my generation runs deep. Because a culture based on abortion inherently disenfranchises every human being from objective value -- we no longer have a base for a right to life, liberty, or happiness if another’s choice can trump our right to life. If our parents can decide whether they want, need, or can afford us -- with the “no” option meaning death.
So no matter how hard it is, you can nick this from Rosa Parks: IN big and small things, act like you and those around you matter. No matter what. Stand on that conviction.
3. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus in 1955, she didn’t know and didn’t plan to make an enormous impact.
She was simply doing what she knew was right.
Can you do the same when you’re faced with a teacher, a friend, a family member, who thinks abortion is good for women, who thinks a preborn human being has less value than an infant?
When I was 16, I sat up all night with a friend who thought she was pregnant, talking, but mostly listening. I told her whatever happened, she had a place with me and my family, and that her baby was a gift -- and we’d accept him if she decided on adoption. I told her money was no issue. Her life and her child’s life were beyond price, and there is always enough resources. Always.
She wasn’t pregnant. But because I sat with her, because I acted on my conviction, she was convinced that life was valuable. She’s pro-life now. Because I did something very small, but very big: I acted on my conviction that her life, individually, and a baby’s life, were worth it all.
That made a huge impact on her life.
Rosa Parks’ refusal? It did something even bigger, even though it was quite small. It started the landslide that became MLK’s boycott of the bus system. It set a spark in the social justice and civil rights push that led to the Civil Rights Act.
A small act can make a huge difference.
4. Finally, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, she refused to play along with a culture that had bought a lie. Just a week ago, at the Students for Life National Conference, our theme was illuminate. Injustice thrives in the dark, Kristan Hawkins reminded the over 2,000 students in the center. One match can light up a whole room. Just weeks ago, Survivors layed down in front of the Supreme Court for a die-in – curled in fetal position, outline chalked into the cold pavement, each young adult represented countless babies killed by abortion. This “small” act was a spark and the Survivors burn brightly.
Your own willingness to call the Culture of Death what it is can blow the cover of abortion. Your willingness to act like a preborn baby’s life matters can give a woman the light and courage to seek help and make a life-affirming decision. Your decision to hold -- maybe not your seat on the bus, but a seat for that most vulnerable life in the womb -- can give that child a chance to be seen, and treated with the value he or she deserves.
You can start a landslide like Rosa Parks for justice. You can make a difference. You can light up your community with the truth that all human beings deserve life, and expose the lies that keep abortion hidden, and in business.
You don’t ever have to be just tired. Be tired of abortion’s injustice. Be tired of giving up places on the bus of life for friends, cousins, siblings, husbands, colleagues. But never become tired of acting on your deeply-held conviction that life matters.
Sit down and sit firm. We may be the generation that has been decimated and beaten by abortion, but we are also the pro-life generation that is tired of abortion’s abuse. Let’s learn from Rosa Parks, and sit to stand up for our peers.