Written on behalf of the TTA Board and members -
Today, on June 19, 2020, we celebrate the 155th 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 affordable and accessible public transportation. The Tarrant Transit Alliance would like to join in this 155-year Juneteenth celebration of Black Freedom by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by our commitment to pursue Social Justice through our advocacy and dedication to equitable transit in Tarrant County.
Transportation access has long collided with trends of racial inequity. Consider, for example, how our highway system disproportionately cut through low-income areas and communities of color. These concrete barriers would displace people, lead to polluted neighborhoods, lower land values, and cut the access of entire populations to city services. 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 when she was arrested for illegally sitting on the front of the bus, actively defying the Montgomery City Code.
Today, we see structural racism in our quickly gentrifying neighborhoods. Policies that, on face value, look to be about revitalizing cities were often (and are still often) rooted in long-standing racial prejudice that worsens pre-existing inequalities. We acknowledge the role that unchecked development can bring to a community & the need for better options for our majority-minority areas. While transit has the power to gentrify and displace, when done with an equity lens, transit can also elevate our community. Equity = Access to Opportunity and transit provides that access.
To do the work, internally and externally, to truly 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 requires financial resources and visionary leadership.
It is in honor of activists like Rosa Parks that TTA pushes toward transit equity through 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.
So let's honor the day by taking a critical look at our past and determining how we can commit to act on the growing calls to dismantle racist systems. Let's set some tangible goals that espouse the values we hold dear. Let's invest in an equitable future.
Thank you for your commitment for Change.
Tarrant Transit Alliance
Tarrant Transit Alliance
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