U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow Participates in Washington, D.C., Service Honoring Rosa Parks
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) spoke today at the Washington, D.C., ceremony honoring the late Rosa Parks. The service was held at the historic Metropolitan AME Church. The senator's remarks:
"I am honored to be one of Rosa Parks' two United States Senators. And I am deeply honored to be here today on behalf of my colleagues and all of our citizens in Detroit and in Michigan who know her as our cherished, our own Mrs. Parks.
"Rosa Parks took a stand by sitting down on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
"This courageous act and a lifetime of service brought her to our nation's Capitol today, where she was the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
"She has been recognized and honored by leaders around the world.
"She has been honored by President Clinton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1996), she was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal (1999) - the highest award bestowed by the U.S. government.
"Countless awards are named after her for her courage and efforts to promote freedom and social justice.
"I'm pleased to be working with Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick to name a Federal Building in Detroit after Mrs. Parks.
"But I believe what was most important to Mrs. Parks was the love, honor and respect she's received from people young and old in Detroit - the city she adopted as her home in 1957. In 1977, after the death of her husband, she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development.
"Every summer, the Institute gathers young people (age 11 to 18) to tour the country in buses - tracing the Underground Railroad, visiting the scenes of critical events in the civil rights movement, and learning about America's history. I believe what thrilled her most was seeing the light in a child's eyes after participating in the "Pathways to Freedom" Program.
"The Rosa Parks Scholarship Fund, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, has also created opportunities for over 750 young people in Michigan to dream big dreams, go to college, and make a difference in our world.
"The Spirit and determination of Rosa Parks will live on in each of the young people she has touched - in each door she has opened for the next generation.
"Today, the carefully restored bus, number-2857, Rosa Parks rode on that historic day, is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan - so that people may experience and be inspired by the very place where the American civil rights movement began.
"Rosa Parks is a symbol to every child, every man, every woman, that one person can make a difference.
"Rosa Parks epitomizes one of my favorite poems:
I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
Lord help me to do that which I can do.'
"Rosa Parks did what she could do, and she changed our world forever.
"Thank you, Mrs. Parks. May God rest your Soul."