Who has never heard of Rosa Parks?! An African-American woman whose courage has helped abolish segregation in the United States. She was a civil rights activist whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. On December 1st, 1955, she sat in a bus and refused to obey the bus driver who ordered her to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus, like she was supposed to according to the law. The police was called and Rosa Parks received a fine which she refused to pay. As a consequence, she was arrested. Her action inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott and both the boycott and Rosa became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Has a new Rosa Parks risen in 2016? Two weeks ago, on Sunday the 1st of May, 300 uniformed neo-Nazis marched in Borlänge, central Sweden, celebrating labor day. But one picture now remains of that particular day in Sweden. A picture that has been seen worlwide and that probably represents the peaceful resistance to the rise of the far-right in Scandinavia.
It is the picture of Tess Asplund, a 42-year-old woman, facing these men, defying them, her fist in the air. A powerful, strong iconic image that says more than a thousand words. A protest against hatred and racism.
To the Guardian, she explained: “It was an impulse. I was so angry, I just went out into the street. I was thinking: hell no, they can’t march here! I had this adrenaline. No Nazi is going to march here, it’s not okay.”
Just like Rosa Parks’s, Tess Asplund’s action conveys a message of peaceful resistance and restores my hope and faith in humanity. This is an image that has already gone viral on the Internet, but that we should keep sharing and spreading.
No words spoken, but still her voice has been heard.
Photograph: David Lagerlöf/Expo/TT News Agency/Press Association Images