(VIDEO) TriMet recognizes civil rights leaders in celebration of Black History

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Newly decorated TriMet bus honors local and national figures who helped lead march toward racial justice

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. in 1955, she established her place in history as the “mother of the civil rights movement.” Her brave act of civil disobedience led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the desegregation of public transit. It was a pivotal moment that set the stage for change in the United States.

Parks is among the Black leaders pictured on TriMet’s “Celebrating Black History and Leaders” bus, which will be rolling throughout our service district for the next nine months. The bus also features photos of local and national advocates for civil rights and racial justice, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the late, longtime Portland pastor, Rev. T. Allen Bethel, Oregon’s first Black woman legislator, Margaret Carter, and Portland’s first Black woman City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

“When people ride this bus, I hope they will reflect on those who have struggled and those who have given their lives for the freedoms that we are enjoying today,” said TriMet Chief Operating Officer, Sam Desue.

“I want them to think about us. Think about our past, what got us here,” said TriMet Bus Operations Manager, Mary Hill. “We’re living Black history right now. This is the most monumental time that we’ve seen as a country in a very long time.”

TriMet salutes these leaders and those who came before them as we celebrate Black history as an integral part of U.S. and world history. Earlier this month, we held our first annual Rosa Parks Transit Equity Day in honor of her heroic stand against racism in the segregated South. No fares were collected on Feb. 4, which was her birthday. It’s a new tradition that we will continue for years to come.

Learn more about our celebration of Black leaders and Black history at trimet.org/celebrate.

Committed to equity

TriMet believes access to public transportation is access to opportunity, and we are committed to equity and inclusion. As a public transportation agency, we serve a broad and diverse community. Our values are rooted in ensuring all riders have fair and equal access to transit services, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or income level. All are welcome on our transit system. Learn more about TriMet’s equity efforts at trimet.org/equity.