On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks bravely defied a bus driver’s orders to give her seat to a white person and move to the back of the bus. Parks’ refusal is remembered as one of the greatest moments in civil rights history and, unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself. Now, a California lawsuit has many comparing a San Fransisco woman to Rosa Parks — with very good reason.
Toni Young was traveling via Greyhound to a family celebration in Sacramento. The African-American woman sat at the front of a bus driven by Caucasian lady Cynthia Lara. The driver explained to Young that she was expecting an elderly woman to board once they reached Sacramento — Young’s destination — and that she would need to move to the back of the bus.
Young explained that she would be getting off the bus in Sacramento, and that the seat would be available when it was needed. This was not good enough for Lara, however, and she insisted that Young move, complaining that the woman was far too uppity. Young “quietly” complied, but her attorney, Michael Adams, explains:
“My client quietly said to her, ‘You don’t have to have an attitude about this’.”
Lara then “loudly asserted that she did not have any attitude” and called for security to remove Young from the bus in Oakland. At that point, Young says Lara “loudly muttered” a racial slur.
“It was shocking to me that we have an incident like this reminiscent of the Rosa Parks incident many years ago,” Adams says. Young then had to wait several hours for another bus. While she awaited her new transportation, she asked for paperwork to file a complaint, but was told Greyhound was out of the forms. She requested to speak to a manager, but was informed none were available.
In other words, ‘shut up and accept it.’
Young eventually reached Sacramento, but the family celebration had ended by the time she arrived.
“It was the most dehumanizing incident of my life,” explained Young. “I will never ride a Greyhound bus again.”
Young says she suffers from psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. She is seeking punitive damages from the company.
“It was shocking to me that we have an incident like this reminiscent of the Rosa Parks incident many years ago,” Adams says, pointing to an incident last year when a group of African-American women were kicked off a Napa Valley Wine Train for “laughing while black.”
“Society seems to be backsliding,” he says.
Sadly, he is right. After all, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee.
Featured image via Raw Story