The long history of racism and systemic violence against Black people in America is shameful, and so many of us are outraged at the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade – yet more lives lost in this unbroken chain of over 400 years of injustice. The national struggle for racial equity and social justice is at the center of our mission at Transportation Choices Coalition. Transit is a promise that everyone deserves equal access to resources, jobs, and the basic ability to move safely and dependably. It is no accident that one of this nation’s most famous acts of civil disobedience took place on a bus – and it is a sad reality that Black riders and other riders of color continue to struggle for safe and equitable access to transit. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by polluting highways that cut through their communities, discriminatory housing and land use practices, insufficient walking and rolling infrastructure that cause higher rates of injury, and longer, less frequent and less affordable transportation options. It is our responsibility as transit advocates to speak the truth about the barriers that stand in the way of meeting the mobility rights and needs of every person. Everyone should have the right to move freely and safely through our public spaces and transit systems. We need to keep pushing to ensure that transit funding is progressive and sufficient, service is ubiquitous, transit access is safe and comfortable, fares are affordable, enforcement is reformed and divorced from policing, and that agencies and governments develop racial and social equity programs and tools to help them center and evaluate equity within all aspects of their work. TCC’s call to action has never been more clear – be relentless in ensuring that transit continues to be a force for good, that despite all the challenges ahead our agencies can continue to deliver excellent service to the people who depend on transit, and that we use our voices and our actions to further a world where systemic racism doesn’t predetermine how far people can go. We cannot achieve transportation justice without racial, social, and economic justice. There is no either/or in supporting transit excellence and taking action against systemic racism in our transportation systems. As a currently white-led organization, we recognize that it is not enough to be not racist, it is necessary to be explicitly anti-racist. That’s why we will:
Amplify Black voices in the transportation field.
Create and support anti-racist policies with a broad coalition, instituting the use of race and social equity analyses in policy and process development, focusing on the priorities of Black communities and communities of color, sharing power and access, and centering their expertise in decision making.
Continue to educate our staff, board, and supporters on how to be anti-racist. Prioritize and develop our organizational Racial Equity Action Plan.
Speak out against white supremacy and deepen our understanding of racial justice and the intersections of racism, whiteness, and transportation.