Did You Know?

Two men and zero women have been

executed in the United States in 2019.

5 Killed in Aurora, Illinois
Five individuals were shot and killed at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois. Five police officers were injured and the gunman was eventually killed by the police. On the day of the shooting, the shooter was being fired from his position at the plant, where he had worked for the last 15 years. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for peace.
4 Killed in Kashmir
Four Indian soldiers have been killed in India-administered Kashmir, following a clash with militants. Recently, in the same region, over 40 others were killed in a suicide attack. Pakistani and Indian forces have been battling over the area. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for peace.
Flooded Gold Mine in Zimbabwe
Nine miners have been rescued alive from a flooded, illegal gold mine in Zimbabwe, while the bodies of 24 others have been recovered. Flooding occurring after a dam burst. While nine have been rescued, dozens of others remain missing and are feared dead. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the missing miners and for their families.
9 Killed in Chittagong, Bangladesh
At least nine individuals have been killed, and over 50 others injured, after a fire in a slum in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The cause of the fires is suspected to be a short circuit. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for all those affected.
Force Withdraw Agreement in Yemen
Government and rebel forces have reached an agreement to withdraw forces around the port of Hudaydah. The withdraw is part of a ceasefire agreement reached last year. The conflict began in 2015, and has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries. Please pray for peace in the region. Please pray for the families of the deceased and for healing for the injured.
7 Killed in Haiti
At least seven individuals have been killed as a result of protests against the government in Haiti. Protesters are protesting the soaring inflation and accuse the government of corruption and misappropriation of funds. The protesters have also asked for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. The President has rejected the idea. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Pleas pray for peace.
17 Killed in New Delhi, India
At least 17 individuals have been killed after a fire in a hotel in New Delhi, India. Thirty-five others were rescued from the fire and 19 were taken to the hospital for injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured.
Heat Wave in Australia
A record heat wave, following a record drought, in Australia have farmers, and others, worried. The drought and heat have caused animals to die and worries that crops will not be able to be planted. Across the globe, the United States is experiencing record cold temperatures. Please pray for all those affected by extreme temperatures. Please pray for their safety and health.

On December 1, 1955, a woman, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white person.  This act ignited a spark in the American Civil Rights movement, leading to boycotts of the busses and demands to an end of racial segregation.  But everyone knows about Rosa Parks and her famous refusal!  But, do you know about the woman who came before Rosa?  About the other women who refused to give up their seats?

 

Claudette Colvin was born on September 5, 1939.  She lived in a poorer section of Montgomery, Alabama.  By 1955, Claudette attended Booker T. Washington High School, where she excelled.  Claudette was a dreamer - she wanted to be President someday!  Coincidentally, by March 2, 1955, Claudette was learning about the civil rights movement in school.  She had just written a paper about the local customs at department stores.  People of color were not allowed to try on clothes or shoes.  They were not allowed in the stores’ dressing rooms.

 

It was this paper she was thinking about on her bus ride home on March 2, 1955.  It was her only way home from school, as her parents did not have a car.  Claudette sat in the colored section of the bus.  But the white section filled up, forcing a white woman to stand.  The bus driver told Claudette, along with two other black girls to move and allow the white woman to sit.  Claudette refused saying, “It’s my constitutional right to sit her as much as that lady.  I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right.”

 

Nine months before Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin was handcuffed, arrested, and forcibly removed from the bus, all the while proclaiming that her constitutional right was being violated.  Claudette later said that she “felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down and one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other - saying ‘Sit down girl!’”  Claudette also said she “was glued to [her] seat.” 

 

Claudette, a 15-year-old girl was terrified after being arrested.  She was released after her minister paid her bail.  So why didn’t Claudette’s brave stand ignite the Civil Rights movement?  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People did consider using her case to challenge the segregation laws, but ultimately decided against it because of her youth.  Claudette also became pregnant around the time of her arrest.  As a teen, unwed mother, the Association thought that she would attract too much negative attention.

 

Even in the days before the internet, the court of public opinion had already ruled.  The once quiet, straight A student was deemed a troublemaker.  She was forced to drop out of college and it became impossible to find a job due to her reputation.  She eventually moved to New York City, where she worked as a nurse’s aide in a Manhattan nursing home until 2004.

 

Claudette never did become President, nor did she regret her actions that day.  She was proud of what she did and of her part in starting the Cilvil Rights Movement.  Claudette went on to partake in the lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of Montgomery’s segregated bus system.  On December 20, 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered Montgomery and Alabama to end bus segregation.

  

During the month of February, Black History Month, we must remember to look back at incidents such as these.  As uncomfortable as remembering these events may be, they are part of our history as Americans.  To move forward in the present, we must remember the past, but not dwell in it, and, if possible, right the wrongs that have been made.

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