A member of the Temecula, California, City Council is facing blowback for comparing her refusal to wear a mask to Rosa Parks’ famous fight for civil rights.
According to the Hill, the council member, Jessica Alexander, made the comparison during a council meeting where the members were deciding how much longer to continue with virtual meeting.
When making her statement, Alexander gave the example of Rosa Parks, a Black woman who, in 1955, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus for a white man, after which she became an icon in the fight for civil rights.
Alexander, a former New York Police Department officer and Marine Corps veteran, said “[L]ook at Rosa Parks … She finally took a stand and moved to the front, because she knew that that wasn’t lawful. It wasn’t true, so she took a stand. At what point in time do we? I’m getting pushed to the back of the bus. This is what I’m telling you I feel like.”
Alexander continued that she “cannot” and “will not” wear a mask, adding, “[S]o it’s not that I want to be disrespectful. But the fact of the matter is, when is enough enough?”
Local civil rights leaders were not happy with Alexander’s comments.
Corey Jackson, the political action chair for the Riverside County chapter of the NAACP, said about Alexander’s remarks that “unfortunately, people don’t understand their history and she clearly missed the whole point about Rosa Parks and twisted it for her own political reasons. Not being treated as a human being or [being treated as] a second-class citizen is totally different from a universal measure to protect lives.”
Chairwoman of the Riverside County Democratic Party Tisa Rodriguez stated that it was “unconscionable” that a city council member would “malign their memories in such a self-serving way.”
Ultimately, Alexander was the only council member to vote “no” on continuing virtual public meetings through June, with the vote being 4-1.
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