Thanksgiving may have been last week, but today is the day to express our enthusiastic gratitude to the late Rosa Parks. It was on December 1, 1955, that this courageous seamstress refused to give up her seat in the "whites-only" section of a Montgomery, Alabama, transit bus.
Her arrest for disobeying the bus driver's authority to enforce Montgomery's segregation laws led to the end of those laws and helped fuel the Civil Rights Movement.
In the years since then, the Federal Transit Administration has worked hard to eliminate discriminatory barriers of all types on America's public transit systems. More proactively, the FTA has also worked to increase minority and lower-income engagement in the transit planning process.
“The FTA is proud to carry on the legacy of Rosa Parks every day as we ensure that all transit riders are treated with dignity and respect and have equal access to transit. No one should ever be prevented from connecting with their families, meeting friends, or visiting their local downtown centers. And FTA will continue to work diligently to safeguard the civil rights of all transit riders in every community.”
Thanks to the FTA's historically high investments in public transit, riders across all geographic, economic, and ethnic lines now have access to safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.
In just a few decades, the FTA has helped transform transit from a separate-but-equal enterprise in many parts of the country to a thriving industry that strives to serve all. And for her role in initiating that transformation, we owe our thanks to Rosa Parks.