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Swimming in Rosa Parks' Footsteps: Workers for the Wealthiest Still Struggle for Dignity

Eliseo Medina: For the minority workers shipped into America's richest enclave, the fight for basic human dignity continues.
 
 
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Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to move.

On Thursday, December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks put in a full day at her department store job in Montgomery, Ala. After work she got on the bus, paid her fare, got back off and re-boarded through the bus’s back door (as was required of black passengers at the time), and took a seat in the “colored” seating section…

On Friday, August 31st, 2007, security officer Wisly Jonatas clocked out of work at 11 p.m. after his evening shift on Fisher Island, an exclusive, private island off the coast of Miami, Fla. Like all Fisher Island service workers, Wisly took the ferry to and from the island for work every day. Tired from a long day at work, Wisly walked onto the ferry and sat down in the ferry’s segregated employee lounge…

The white section of the bus soon filled to capacity and Mrs. Parks was asked to move farther back so a boarding white passenger could take her seat. She did not move. Her insubordination led to her swift arrest…

Eliseo Medina is an executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

 
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