Rosa Parks’ Birthday Celebration Should Be Vegetarian—Just Like Her

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Rosa Parks is remembered as one of the most fearless civil rights activists in history. So it’s fitting that her birthday, February 4, has been deemed the National Day of Courage, when we are all encouraged to raise our voices against injustice.

The Henry Ford Museum in the Detroit area, where Parks spent the latter half of her life, plans to pay tribute to her with a day of special events. But the museum overlooked an important detail: Parks didn’t harm animals for food. She was a vegetarian. And a celebration of her life and her legacy should be, too. So PETA raised our voices and asked the museum to honor all of Parks’ convictions by serving vegetarian food.

Parks is, of course, best known for her work to end segregation and racism. But like her friend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Parks soon broadened her base to advocate for all socially disadvantaged people. And she, like Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and his son, Dexter Scott King, went on to embrace other disadvantaged species. Believing that animals should also be free from being subjugated and abused, Parks became a vegetarian and King’s widow and son both went vegan.

Not only did Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat on the bus, she also refused to go along with the idea that it’s OK to inflict suffering on others for her own ends. In honoring her legacy, we should do the same.  

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind