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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

The icon and role model, Rosa Parks, passed away approximately 16 years ago, on October 24, 2005. Today, her bold strokes serve as examples of empowerment that encourage people’s inner advocate and awakens their inner activist. When you think of Parks, you may picture the following: learning in history class how a black woman refused to give up her seat for a white man through a one-paragraph textbook excerpt. However, it is important to note that between the coats of paint that make up that illustration, there exist note-worthy strokes you may find empowering today as, both, the female and black communities still attempt to erase all forms of oppression that silenced them for decades.

To celebrate Parks taking the, at the time, bold choice of exercising her unalienable rights, we will highlight some of her most sagacious remarks.

  1. “Nah”

That’s right, her delivery of refusal wasn’t a long and wordy explanation. A ridiculous demand like that didn’t need one. Instead, she went for an assertive and concise- “Nah”. Personally, I imagined she had said something along the lines of- “What? I was here first. I don’t want to move for a man perfectly capable of standing on both legs. What makes him more deserving of a seat than me?…”. However, the icon knew the absurdity of the situation could easily be acknowledged with the simplest of replies.

  1. “No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

I loved this quote because without knowing the context of it, you can already tell what inspired it: an assumption that she must have had an unexpectedly bad day to do the unexpected. 

  1. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

I, again, loved this quote (spoiler alert: I’m going to love every quote) mostly because of how quickly it got my adrenaline pumping. Although being mindful and well-informed is important, being confident and bold are equally important features of the contradiction that is being an advocate for any cause. She highlighted the importance of decisive and fear-less qualities very well in this quote.

  1. “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”

The last quote was selected because it communicates her final thoughts that happen to be a piece of advice in disguise. Given that many people look up to her, I saw this as her advising us to empower ourselves as that will empower others. To seek better treatment, seek more knowledge, seek application of your unalienable rights as it is not selfish, if anything, it is selfless.

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Hey! I'm a San José State first-year majoring in computer science. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, CA. I love to read, sing, and try anything new in my free time. This year, I would like to write mental health and history-oriented pieces. When I graduate, I hope to move to Seattle or Boston, definitely travel to Alaska and Paris at some point!