By Khandi Wilson
Marc Sternberg, a native born in Baton Rouge said in an interview with NPR, “Before Dr. King had a dream, before Rosa kept her seat, and before Montgomery took a stand, Baton Rouge played its part”.
In 1950, Baton Rouge had African-American owned buses that transported their black passengers to and from work. The system of these black businesses was struggling and asked for a wage increase. As a result, the pay increased all of five cents. The same day the fare increased, Reverend T. J. Jemison was present at city council when they passed Ordinance 222, which ran based on “first come, first served”.
These buses also catered to white passengers who were legally allowed to sit in the front of the bus while blacks sat in the back. The bus drivers did not comply with the new law and thus stopped coming to their jobs. The community then followed suit by communicating with local African-American residents telling them to not ride the city bus. The company lost a lot of money since the amount of passengers who used this system were 80% black. This movement gained national attention and a few years later Martin Luther King, Jr. implemented this system in Montgomery during the Civil Rights Movement.
Disagreeing with an idea is normal and quite common. As of late, Americans have been using their voice to fight for a system that represents them and their values. Just like in Baton Rouge, a grassroots’ movement has taken flight across the country. A group of former congressional staffers have written up the Indivisible guide for the everyday American to use when addressing their local congress representatives. It has not even been two weeks since President Trump moved into the White House, but already his administration is causing an uproar among Americans across the country. Far and wide, people are coming out in mass numbers to protest their opposition to the new administration and the new policies they are implementing using executive orders. This detailed guide teaches people who have no lobbying or governmental experience how to make sure their voices are heard while also being politically active in their community.
Instead of being upset when people see the news or the information being leaked through their newsfeeds, there is something that can be done to fix it, and more than likely someone in your community has already begun planning.