Public transportation is a civil right. Getting to school or work or to an appointment, shopping or recreational event should not depend upon whether you can or wish to own or drive a car. Everyone of any age, ability, financial situation, or location, must have access to all of life. Public transportation can provide that access, equitably and sustainably.
The first Transit Equity Day was established by the Labor Network for Sustainability in 2018 on Rosa Parks' birthday, February 4.
In his 2018 article, "Transit Equity Day: A New Way to Remember Rosa Parks," Jeremy Brecher, working with the Institute for Policy Studies, noted,
"One of the organizers of the Montgomery bus boycott, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., became America’s best-known spokesperson for civil rights. He helped Americans understand that civil rights included not only the rights to vote and sit up front on the bus, but the right to a decent home, the right to a good job, the right to join a union, and other rights necessary for equal access to a good life.
King recognized that equal access to transportation was one of those essential rights.
Fifteen years after the integration of Montgomery’s buses, he pointed out in A Testament of Hope that many Americans faced discrimination not because they couldn’t get a good seat on a bus, but because they couldn’t get a bus at all.
“The layout of rapid-transit systems,” he pointed out, “determines the accessibility of jobs.” Poorer people needed access to those jobs so they could begin to “move into the mainstream of American life” — which meant they needed transit.
Today, the same issues persist. Access--public transit--is an essential civil right. In addition, we are now facing the unimaginable devastation brought by human-caused global heating.
Transit Equity Days in La Crosse, January 30 through February 3, is a chance to think about this important public service and asset in our area and how we can improve and strengthen it to make our community more equitable and work on reducing our transportation-related carbon emissions.
Please participate. Attend a program, ride the bus with an elected leader. Share your public transit story. Visit the display at the library. If you haven't taken the bus before, start now. It's one of the best ways to reduce your own carbon emissions. See the full list of events at tinyurl.com/LaXTED2023.
Monday, January 30 through Friday, February 3 FREE FARES on the MTU!
Wednesday, February 1 FREE FARE on the SMRT Bus!
Ride with your representative - Many city council and county board representatives are scheduling an Office Hour on the Bus. Here's your chance to ride along and talk about the importance of a strong, accessible public transit system. Check the event page for details.
Share your transit story using the online form at tinyurl.com/LaXTEDStory
Thank our essential transit workers by signing the card at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/cqyFeerp
Check out the displays at the La Crosse Public Library and the Grand River Station Transit Center, 314 Jay Street.
Monday, January 30 at 1 p.m. - Press event at the Transit Center. Come and demonstrate your support for public transit!
Tuesday, January 31 at 7 p.m. - Join the Coulee Region Sierra Club and guest Susan Gaeddert, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, for a look at the intersection of Transit Equity and Climate Action. This free Zoom program requires free registration at: tinyurl.com/CRSC-013123
Wednesday, February 1 at 2 p.m. - Participate in a Sustainability Chat on Local Public Transportation hosted by The Sustainability Institute with guests Adam Lorentz, La Crosse MTU, and Peter Fletcher, La Crosse County Planning Committee/Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit. Register here: https://www.sustaininstitute.com/event-details/sustainability-chats-local-public-transportation
Saturday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - The Labor Network for Sustainability will host a live stream with speakers and actions from around the country. Watch on their YouTube channel.