- A local politician in California compared her opposition to masks to Rosa Parks’ civil rights struggle.
- The remarks drew criticism, including from late night host Stephen Colbert.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A California councilwoman compared her opposition to wearing masks to Rosa Parks’ struggle against racial segregation, drawing condemnation and ridicule.
Temecula councilwoman Jessica Alexander made the comments during a council meeting held remotely on April 13.
Alexander appears not to be part of a political party, but received support from the local Republicans at her last election.
“[Parks] finally took a stand and moved to the front,” said Alexander. “I’m getting pushed to the back of the bus. I’m telling you, I feel like I’m getting pushed to the back of the bus.”
The comments sparked a large response. Late-night host Stephen Colbert on Tuesday mocked Alexander for the comments after a video of the meeting spread widely on social media.
“Wow. Watching her compare herself to Rosa Parks really took away my appetite,” he said after playing a clip of Alexander’s remarks. “I’m a lot like Gandhi that way.”
The Temecula Press Enterprise reported that at a later council meeting Alexander did not mention or apologize for the comments.
Councilmember Zak Schwank during that meeting criticized her for drawing the comparison, according to the report.
“Wearing a mask is not a civil rights issue, it’s not a civil rights battle,” Schwank said. “Equating the two is offensive, and quite honestly, it breaks down all the work that we’ve done over the past year.”
Rosa Parks is one of pivotal figures of the civil rights movement, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott.
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