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Posted: 2019-02-11 15:30:15

February 4, 2019; WKRN (Nashville, TN)

On February 4th, the nation celebrated Transit Equity Day, in honor of the late Rosa Parks, who would’ve turned 106 years old. The holiday is intended to draw attention to transit as a civil rights issue and an important element of a climate-safe future.

Across the nation, community groups and nonprofit organizations marked the holiday through a wide array of awareness-building activities, ranging from events by the Bus Riders Unite program in Portland, Oregon, which seeks the reinstatement of the Rider Advocate program to make the system safer for people of color who depend on it, to advocates in New Jersey pushing for the electrification of New Jersey’s transportation system. In Nashville, a group called Music City Riders United (MCRU) participated in public actions to demand transportation equity throughout the city, focusing on the discrepancy and placement of bus shelters throughout the city. MCRU is a campaign of Workers’ Dignity, a nonprofit dedicated to economic justice through organizing and developing solutions to wage theft and systemic abuse of workers throughout the greater Nashville area. For nonprofits addressing equity, the MCRU campaign shows how concerted public engagement and awareness can lead to transit equity progress.

“Transit equity” is an issue and term that may be new to some. The Center for Social Inclusion explains the importance of transit equity:

Accessible, affordable transportation is critical to the lives we live. Residents of communities of color and poor white communities, whether rural or urban, must travel to obtain better jobs, secure educational opportunities and get quality health care. Too often competing interests result in transportation policies that unintentionally leave low-income Americans stranded. To achieve equity in transportation policy, we need to craft and catalyze strategies that help rural and urban communities of color get the investments needed to spur mobility in every

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