On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
As an act of active resistance, Parks sat in the front section that was designated for white passengers. After the bus started to fill with white passengers, Parks was asked by the bus driver to give up her seat. Parks refused and was subsequently arrested and fined.
Parks’ resistance was the catalyst for one of the largest social movements in history: the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Even before she had boarded the bus in 1955, Parks was a prominent leader and organizer of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. Parks had frequently encountered racial discrimination and violence growing up in the segregated South, thus she became active in the Civil Rights Movement from a very young age. Parks’ resistance against racial discrimination had extended all throughout her life. As a result of Parks’ work and action, transit systems in the United States have become more equitable.
To honor Rosa Parks and the ongoing fight for equitable transportation, February 4, Rosa Parks’ birthday, has been designated as Transit Equity Day. The day is meant to elevate the message that access to equitable, affordable, and safe transit and paratransit options is vital to social and economic livelihood. Additionally, the day affirms that all people – regardless of race, ability, age, income status, or identity – have the right to transit mobility and accessibility.
The Snohomish County Transportation Coalition is committed to honoring the legacy of Rosa Parks and her work as we continue to advocate for connecting people and communities in Snohomish County and beyond with safe, equitable, and accessible transportation.
This year, there are many ways to commemorate Transit Equity Day: