COLUMBUS, OH–The Central Ohio Transit Authority, The Ohio State University and Rosa Parks Day Founder, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, presented Ohio’s 11th Annual Statewide Tribute to Rosa Parks, “The Power of One,” on Thurs., Dec. 3 at COSI, and Fri., December 4 at the Vern Riffe Center, Capitol Theatre.
Hundreds of guests celebrated “The Power of One,” at the Community Leaders Forum on Thurs., Dec. 3, and heard remarks from Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District; Curtis Stitt, President and CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority; Dr. Michael V. Drake, President, The Ohio State University; Congressman John Conyers, Jr., U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District; and Jean Carter Ryan, Vice Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees. The highlight of the Forum was a performance by Jim Lucas, “Keeper of the Dream,” who is nationally acclaimed for his stirring and dramatic recitations and interpretive readings, depicting the life and times of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A photo exhibit was on display of the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March by photographer Allen Zak, in addition to the Rosa Parks Children’s Art Exhibit.
A studio audience participated in a landmark Panel Discussion filmed in the WOSU@COSI TV Studio, “50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March” – A powerful moment in our civil rights history. Panelists included Congressman Conyers, serving in Congress since 1965; Congresswoman Joyce Beatty; Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Associate Professor, History Department – The Ohio State University; and Dr. Robert Lee Wright, participant in the Selma March. Jerry Revish, WBNS-10TV News Anchor, moderated the discussion. WOSU-TV recorded the panel discussion to be included in the Columbus Collaborative Series.
More than 600 elementary school students attended the annual Children’s Assembly on Fri., Dec. 4 at the Vern Riffe Center’s Capitol Theatre. The assembly featured “Front of the Bus,” an interactive sing-a-long of civil rights and freedom songs with Arnett Howard, Leslie Zak, Paisha Thomas, Cedric Easton and Carl Yaffee. Speakers included Curtis Stitt; Robert L. Solomon, Assistant Vice Provost for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at The Ohio State University; Congresswoman Joyce Beatty; and Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools. Jerry Revish served as master of ceremonies. Brutus Buckeye made a special appearance. Students attended from the following schools: Avondale Elementary School- City of Columbus; East Columbus Elementary School – City of Columbus; Beechwood Elementary School – City of Whitehall; French Run Elementary – City of Reynoldsburg; and Hamilton Local Elementary- Hamilton Local Schools. WBNS-10TV provided a live stream of the program to elementary schools throughout the state.
Ohio was the first state to designate Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day to honor her life and legacy as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. In 2005, then-State Representative, and now Congresswoman Joyce Beatty wrote, advocated and won unanimous support to pass Ohio’s legislation in the 50th-anniversary year of Mrs. Parks’ courageous act. In refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white passenger, she sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern civil rights movement.
The tribute has been recognized nationally, and in 2011 it was entered into the Congressional Record during a session of the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years earlier, the American Public Transportation Association awarded Ohio’s tribute its Grand Prize Award in the Special Events category.
WBNS-10TV served as the media sponsor of the 11th Annual Statewide Tribute to Rosa Parks. Motorists Insurance underwrote portions of the Children’s Assembly.