THE PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES "THE ROSA INITIATIVE" AN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE TO FIGHT FOR FAIR AND EQUITABLE PUBLIC TRANSIT FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR ACROSS AMERICA 

 

The landmark initiative and announcement is the first of its kind from a civil rights perspective and organization nationally pledging to fight for climate justice aimed at communities of color within the public transit space. The official announcement will be made in San Diego, CA February 4th,2020 by Rev. Shane Harris "The Rosa Initiative" author. 

 

(San Diego, CA) - The People's Alliance for Justice, a national civil rights nonprofit organization, headquartered in San Diego, CA, announces it's environmental justice initiative. PAJ initiative will emphasize and focus on advocacy for expanding public transportation to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants within urban communities of color across the country. "The Rosa Initiative" is named after the historic civil rights activist Rosa Parks. The first of it's kind initiative in the Country brought forth by National Civil Rights activist and President of People's Alliance for Justice Rev. Shane Harris who says "This initiative is a message to the political establishment having conversations about expanding public transit while leaving African American communities totally out of the discussion. Rosa Parks fought for us to have a seat on the bus and we should fight to be at the decision making tables of where busses go, what communities are prioritized and what the future holds for public transit as well as fare and ticket prices and transit security". Harris continued in saying "We plan to push for a free ride day in two California cities San Diego and Los Angeles as well as in Washington DC during the month of December which was when Rosa Parks famously began the Montgomery Bus Boycott and went from December 1955 to December 1956 which desegregated busses in the South. Transit agencies should acknowledge this and implement a free ride day so they can encourage ridership among colored people and acknowledge how far we have come as far as bussing in America is concerned". Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her defiance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and its success launched nationwide efforts to end racial segregation of public facilities.  

 

 The boycott was aimed at desegregating public transportation in the mid 1950's when blacks were not allowed to sit in front of city buses and only were allowed to sit in the back. In December 1955, ROSA PARKS quietly began a movement by sitting down and staying seated where she felt she belonged. She had been at work all day as a department store seamstress. 

Parks got onto the bus after work and sat on the fifth row, which was considered the first row of the seats for colored people. A Montgomery bus driver named JAMES BLAKE ordered Parks and three other African Americans seated nearby to move to say, "Move y'all, I want those two seats," to the back of the bus. Three riders followed the request; Parks did not. Rosa Parks instead stayed seated where she was arrested and fined $10 by the city. 

 

"The Rosa Initiative" is introduced with a civil rights environmental justice focus that brings together African American communities to advocate for environmental justice, which profoundly impacts the African American community. Nationally more than an average of 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a dirty coal-fired power plant, compared with 56 percent of whites and 39 percent of Latinos information shared at drrobertbullard.com a nationally noted African American based environmental justice advocate and institution. The Congressional Black Caucus led a national study in 2017 through the Department of Transportation that showed Blacks outweighed whites in households without a vehicle. Blacks are at roughly 16% without a car, while whites are around 4% without a car. The study also showed that approximately 12% African Americans use public transportation, while nearly 4% of whites use public transit. All of this happening while African Americans are under prioritized in the fight for expanding public transit around the country, especially in some of America's largest cities. The People's Alliance for Justice will seek to bring African Americans to the discussion starting in some of the largest cities in America, such as San Diego, CA, to be apart of the decision-making process when it comes to "expanding public transportation." The initiative will push for a national free ride day during December 2020. Some agencies feel they are doing all they can to address racial inequity within public transit but can not show proof of doing so. The first push of the initiative will be to implement a free ride day during December 2020 in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington DC, acknowledging Rosa Parks's fight and pushing for more inclusiveness when addressing the expansion of public transportation nationally. The national President of The People's Alliance for Justice Rev. Shane Harris noted in a statement "Rosa Parks fought for people of color to have a seat on the bus, so we should take her fight to the next level in our generation's civil rights and fair equity movement to ensure we have equitable public transportation within every community particularly for people of color that Rosa Parks fought for." Harris continues, "This initiative is a first of its kind focus with an emphasis on the communities Rosa Parks fought for and particularly getting our larger cities to implement a free ride day in her honor to empower ridership within these communities." 

"The Rosa Initiative" focuses (this list may expand over time): 

 

1. Advocating for policies and measures within local transit agencies across the country on expanding public transportation particularly within big cities in which transit agencies are failing to address transit inequity (rail lines, rapid bus routes and busses, and transit intersections and stops) and making sure equity and race is in all policy-making decisions from ticketing passengers to transit police. 

 

2. Bringing African Americans and communities of color to the decision making tables of expanding public transportation making sure that those communities also have things such as rapid busses among other things as much as any other community that is represented within policy & decision making. This will push for agencies to stop having the "expanding public transit" conversations within silos only for certain communities at the expense of leaving African American communities off the table during decision making time of where public transit goes and what expansion looks like. 

 

3. Advocating for more federal dollars to include parts of the country that have less stable public transportation and agencies that will agree to use federal infrastructure dollars with integrity ensuring diversity within all projects of transit expansion. 

 

4. Pushing for local transit agencies to have community review boards that hold them accountable on things such as: security/guards who act as transit police being held more accountable for any level of transit police misconduct situations where a transit police officer mistreats members of the public, also where public transit expands correctly and lower-income communities having a seat at the table of policy and decision making. Ticketing is also mentioned above, which would also be a focus of review boards as well. How much people are paying to ride is a big conversation within communities of color, and there needs to be accountability to review these things with transit agency boards. 

 

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