Transit Equity Day is celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 4, the birthday of Rosa Parks.
Parks is remembered for her pivotal role in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955 after she refused the order of a white driver to vacate her seat in the "colored" section of the bus once the "white" section was full.
Parks' act of civil disobedience to the Alabama segregation laws helped inspire the Black community in Montgomery to begin a boycott of bus services that lasted over a year.
Eventually, bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional in November 1956 under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Her act of defiance became an important symbol for the emerging Civil Rights movement then being led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As her legacy lives on, so do the legacies of the many Freedom Fighters who acted for justice.
You can learn more about Rosa Parks and her work for transit equity from this past Platform blog post discussion with the Sound Transit leader who got to meet her, Chief Business & Labor Compliance Officer Leslie Jones.
When Parks' memory is invoked, think also of Claudette Colvin, a Black 15-year-old who also lived in Montgomery and who also refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman on March 2, 1955.
Claudette was dragged off the bus by police officers, handcuffed, and thrown in jail for asserting her civil right to public transit.
Parks' and Colvin's right to travel on public transit was about more than just the seat. It was about the freedom to travel to work, school or play unconstrained by the biases of others.
Sound Transit stands in support of this ongoing movement and embraces their memories as we work to provide equitable access to and service on public transit for all of our communities.
Our mission is "connecting more people to more places to make life better and create equitable opportunities for all."