The Montgomery Bus Boycott not only sparked change here in America, but remains a model for peaceful protest across the planet. Just ask Maria Ruiz. She never experienced segregation in her native Argentina, but says her country still struggles with unfair politics. In many ways, though, she feels South America isn't very different from central Alabama.
Ruiz says, "The United States is a country of immigrants. You know, we all come from different places."
Ruiz is a member of a group called ACTION-- people learning about our civil rights history and teaching us about theirs. "That's what we're doing on this trip," Ruiz adds. "Trying to share stories with people, trying to connect with communities and see what they're doing. To see how they changed the past, and also how they healed the past."
A panel from ACTION spoke with children from E.D. Nixon Elementary, the school named after one of the founders of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Fourth grade student, Edward Harris, says, "They should really learn about this because this is actually history."
Harris asked every member of the panel: What would they say if Rosa Parks was here today? Most responded that they would thank her for her courage and the example she made for world.
The panelists were involved in a ten week leadership development program that traveled across the country. The international group included delegates from Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Kenya, and Vietnam among other countries.
Saturday's program at the Rosa Parks Library and Museum was also hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.