How It All Started
For the past four years on February 4, a network of transit rider unions, community organizations, environmental groups and labor unions have organized Transit Equity Day–a national day of action to commemorate the birthday of Rosa Parks by declaring that public transit is a civil right. Rosa is an iconic figure of the civil rights era who chose the tactic of refusing to give up her seat on the bus to demand an end to segregation in the Montgomery, Alabama, transit system. We make the connection to this act of resistance to highlight the rights of all people to high-quality public transportation run on clean/renewable energy.
Why February 4?
We chose February 4, Rosa Parks’ birthday, because she is an iconic figure among many of the civil rights era who chose the tactic of refusing to give up her seat on the bus. We want to make the connection to this act of resistance to highlight the rights of all people to high-quality public transportation powered by clean/renewable energy.
This day of action will also help to support a broader strategy for a just transition from the fossil fuel economy to clean, renewable energy as a way to confront the climate crisis. Expanding non-fossil fuel, public transportation is a foundation to achieving this transition.
A just transition also requires that we uphold worker and civil rights. This means that everyone should have access to free (or at least affordable) public transportation regardless of age, race, or class. It includes supporting the rights of workers to organize in the sectors that will build, operate and maintain public transportation infrastructure, as well as provide the services.
We also want to emphasize the principle of public over private investment–the need for public resources and infrastructure (public transportation, public regulation of our energy systems, a stronger public sector overall, etc.), to lead and administer the transition to fossil fuel free public transportation.