On Rosa Parks’ birthday we celebrated her legacy by centering Transit Equity.
Every year on February 4th we honor Rosa Parks’ determination and tenacity in challenging the status quo. She was a trailblazer who helped desegregate public transit and is hero of the civil rights movement.
The Ability Center of Greater Toledo works for change within the Transit Equity Network which joins together transit riders, disability rights organizations, civil rights groups, and transit worker unions who for the past four years have organized around Transit Equity Day nationally. We also observe and celebrate Ohio Loves Transit Week, which highlights the essential work transit workers do daily for our communities throughout the state.
Locally, Lucas County voters voted yes for Issue 12, which will provide expanded hours and services to residents within county boundaries. The new funding model under Issue 12 will take effect this year and should be noted is one that all major metropolitan areas in Ohio have been using for years. We are finally up to par with the rest of the state, which means our work as a community has only just begun.
For people with disabilities, who only won the civil right to access public transit as recently as 1990 transit isn’t a luxury but a life-supporting service. The continuation of Rosa Parks’ work is in full effect when people with disabilities organize and demand better access to jobs, medical care, and the community through increased access to public transit.
This is the time to get involved with our local Transit Authority’s plans for the future and to ensure ease of access is expanded for people with disabilities, people with fixed or low income, and other marginalized communities like students, immigrants, and seniors. In addition, transit agencies must make pay and benefits of a qualified workforce more competitive to support expansion of service.
Transit Equity Day and Ohio Loves Transit Week are a time to remember that transit is foundational to our economy and local communities’ sustenance, and that access to public transit is a human right. Reliable transportation creates opportunities for all to live more fulfilling lives.
Veralucia Mendoza, The Ability Center