Rosa Parks, Peter Norman and Equality

In our most recent Assemblies we are/have been focussing on two examples of courage and integrity; Rosa Parks’ Montgomery Bus incident, and Australian Peter Norman’s involvement in the ‘Human Rights Salute’ at the 1968 Olympics.

It can be challenging to speak up when injustices occur, and it is not easy, especially for children, to determine when they are allowed to do so, and when this is seen as being disrespectful and rude, and this is part of our discussion in Assemblies.

The importance of equality, regardless of colour, gender, sexuality, race and beliefs, is a message that we continue to discuss and reinforce.

There is a strong belief that Peter Norman wasn’t selected in the 1972 Olympic team, nor invited as a guest, to the 2000 Olympics, because of his support of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ ‘salute’ during the Medal Ceremony following the 200m final, yet 9 October in America is designated “Peter Norman Day”.  Parliament issued an apology to Peter Norman on October 11 2012 that in part read:

“(Parliament) ….acknowledges the bravery of Peter Norman in donning an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge on the podium, in solidarity with African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who gave the ‘black power’ salute;

….apologises to Peter Norman for the treatment he received upon his return to Australia, and the failure to fully recognise his inspirational role before his untimely death in 2006…”

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