Indiana University graduate student Carl Darnell had a vision to bring people together to commemorate Rosa Parks, a social justice advocate that helped bring equal rights to African-Americans in the 1950’s.
Because of his efforts, a program in the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center gave students the opportunity to reflect on the courage that Parks stood for. Afterward, more than 70 participants boarded a city bus to commemorate Parks, who refused to give up her seat to another passenger on Dec. 1, 1955.
Darnell says he wants students to remember her motto of fairness, justice and love by bringing issues of concern to the forefront. He says IU needs to do more to encourage education for African-American students.
“If we’re Indiana University, to me the flagship of Indiana, and Indiana is 9% black, I don’t understand why we can’t be reflective of the state we’re in,” he says. “I wanted to bring attention to how we’re 4 percent, and we’ve been exactly 4 percent since 1975. So if nothing else, that can be a social justice issue that we can get behind.”
The group rode the public transit bus around portions of IU’s campus, and IU Sophomore Aaricka Washington says this reflective ride is a movement of change in the future.
“Since we represent such a small percentage here at IU, I think it’s important to show that we can stand together or sit together on a bus and be united and hopefully make a difference in the future,” she says.
Once the ride was complete the group marched from the Herman B. Wells Library to the Neal Marshall Black Culture center.