Honor Rosa Parks with an Appeal for More, Better and Just
Public Transit on Transit Equity Day, Feb 4
Special to The Truth
Amalgamated Transit Union
International President Larry Hanley released the following
statement to mark Transit Equity Day to celebrate Rosa
“Nearly two-thirds of a
century ago Rosa Parks broke the law by refusing to give up
her seat to a white man. She was arrested and locked up in a
Montgomery, AL, jail.
“In response, the black
community of Montgomery decided to boycott the city’s buses
until they could ride with dignity. The boycott lasted 381
days – until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such
discrimination was unconstitutional.
“One of the organizers of
the Montgomery bus boycott was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr..
He helped Americans understand that civil rights included
not only the right to vote and to take any seat on the bus,
but the right to a decent home, and a good job; the right to
join a union, and equal access to a good life.
“King also recognized that
equal access to public transportation was one of those
essential rights because rapid-transit systems determine the
accessibility of jobs. Unfortunately, transit systems did
not provide that access. So, King proclaimed, 'urban transit
systems' have become 'a genuine civil rights issue.'
“Since then our urban
transit systems have grown far worse.
“Privatization of public
transit has led to private companies running a public
service not for the public good, but for their bottom line.
“Our cities have become full
of transit deserts where riders in low-income communities
have to spend hours walking and taking circuitous routes
simply to get to their jobs, see their families, buy
groceries, or get to a medical appointment.
“From Portland, OR, to
Trenton, NJ, to Minneapolis, MN, to San Francisco, CA and
many other cities transit systems have cut service and
raised fares. People of color and low-income families, who
depend most on public transit, are bearing the brunt of
these reductions in public transit service and rising
“To celebrate Rosa Parks
birthday, the Amalgamated Transit Union is joining with the
Labor Network for Sustainability, Jobs with Justice, the
Institute for Policy Studies and others to declare Transit
Equity Day on February 4, 2019 to call for increased
investment in public transit.
“More investment in public
transit will create a cleaner environment. Transportation is
the second largest source of climate change. Riding a bus,
train, trolley or light rail rather than a car helps reduce
pollution. Buses emit 80% less carbon dioxide than a car and
rail transit emits almost none.
“More investment in public
transit will give every person in every neighborhood
regardless of age, race, class, gender, or disability the
right to safe, convenient transportation at an affordable
“So to honor Rosa Park’s
legacy let’s invest in public transit to create a more just,
clean and accessible future for all.”