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A Letter in Celebration of Juneteenth

June 19, 2021

Written on behalf of the TTA Board and members -

Today, on June 19, 2021, we celebrate and commemorate the 156th Anniversary of the acknowledgment in the state of Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation that declared 'all Slaves forever free,' by a U. S. Presidential Proclamation and Executive Order. This proclamation established the foundation on which we hold up the social and economic pillars of Social Justice and Freedom for all, including public transportation, which provided a pathway to economic and social freedom. The Tarrant Transit Alliance would like to join this 156-year Juneteenth celebration of Black liberation by supporting the continued commitment to advancing affordable and accessible multi-modal transit options for all African Americans.

The intersection between mobility access and social justice in our Country has been there from the start. Consider civil rights icon Rosa Parks and her display to the world in 1955 following her arrest for sitting in the front of the public bus.

We continue to see inequities within transit systems due to the lack of capital and operational funding to expand and enhance mobility options. Even today, transportation funding continues to help the suburbs at the expense of cities, with only 20% of all transportation dollars spent on mass transit. Let us also consider the powerful statement Rosa Parks made in 1955 and make a commitment to change our community's mobility trajectory by investing in the well-being and freedom of all people with an investment in multi-modal transportation.

As the TTA Chairman, I applaud the entire TTA Board of Directors for their commitment to supporting and advancing transit policies that seek to revitalize communities of color, where economic and social inequalities often exist. We acknowledge the role that unchecked development can bring to a community & the need for better options for these historically underserved areas. While transit has the power to gentrify and displace, when done within a framework of equity and access, transit can also elevate our community.

To do this work, to indeed be drivers of progress, agencies and city leaders need to take a step back to listen to the voices that have long done the work to promote equitable placemaking - and then take real, sustainable action. This progress requires financial resources and visionary leadership.

It is in honor of leaders like Rosa Parks that TTA pushes toward transit equity through our efforts to see increased funding at the local, state, and federal levels. We promise to apply an equity lens to our board and programming to ensure equal representation, and we will actively work to better engage in inclusive public outreach. We will make the space to listen, learn, and support opportunities for change amongst TTA proponents, both at the community level and within the public sector.

I encourage each of us to honor this Juneteenth Day by having a sense of urgency and intentionality in committing to action. Let's set some tangible goals that espouse the values we hold dear. Let's invest in the well-being of all humankind.

Thank you for your continued commitment to advancing Freedom and Emancipation through investment in public transportation.

Andre McEwing

Chair of the Board

Tarrant Transit Alliance

Onyinye Akujuo

Vice-Chair of the Board

Tarrant Transit Alliance


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