White lawmaker compares her refusal to wear a mask to Rosa Parks

Marine Corps veteran says she ‘cannot’ and ‘will not’ wear mask during pandemic

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 27 April 2021 22:51 BST
White lawmaker compares her refusal to wear a mask to Rosa Parks

A white California lawmaker compared her refusal to wear a mask to racial justice protester Rosa Parks being forced to sit at the back of a bus during the era of racial segregation.

Anti-mask politician Jessica Alexander, a member of the Temecula City Council, came under fire for the comments she reportedly made during a debate on continuing with virtual meetings.

And she invoked the image of Rosa Parks, a Black woman who in 1955 refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, for a white man.

“Look at Rosa Parks … She finally took a stand and moved to the front, because she knew that that wasn’t lawful,” she said, according to video of the meeting posted to YouTube.

“It wasn’t true, so she took a stand. At what point in time do we?”

And she added: “I’m getting pushed to the back of the bus.

“This is what I’m telling you I feel like.”

The Marine Corps veteran and former New York Police Department officer, said she “cannot” and “will not” wear a face mask during the pandemic.

“So it’s not that I want to be disrespectful. But the fact of the matter is, when is enough enough?” she said.

Temecula, which is located an hour north of San Diego, is a city of 114,000 people and has seen 7,455 cases of Covid-19 and 78 deaths, according to health officials.

The council ended up voting 4-1, with Ms Alexander voting “no,” to continue hosting virtual public meetings until June.

Her comments sparked criticism from civil rights leaders.

“Being asked to choose between wearing a mask or the privilege of sitting comfortably in your office during public meetings is not at all the same as the incredibly difficult sacrifices Rosa Parks and so many others made to fight for the rights to vote and live free of institutionalised segregation,” Tisa Rodriguez, chairwoman of the Riverside County Democratic Party, told The Press-Enterprise.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Alexander for comment.

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