TriMet To Honor Rosa Parks

TriMet is honoring civil rights activist Rosa Parks on Friday, February 4 on what would have been her 109th birthday. On December 1, 1955, police arrested Parks after she refused to give up a seat on a city bus to a white person in segregated Montgomery, Alabama. Her actions led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring segregation unconstitutional on public transit systems.

The resolution changed TriMet code to allow for fares not to be collected every Feb. 4, to encourage people throughout the region to “acknowledge this courageous African American woman.”“When people wonder why fares are not being collected on this day, we’ll be able to tell them that Rosa Parks is being honored,” said board member Keith Edwards, according to TriMet. “This is her birthday, and she’s the mother of the civil rights movement. She moved the country by use of a bus in a great social effort to bring about equity and equality.”

TriMet will hold its first Rosa Parks Transit Equity Day on Thursday, Feb. 4, when fares will not be collected for rides on buses, MAX, WES or LIFT. Transit partners Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN will join TriMet in not collecting fares on that day. TriMet Board of Directors member Keith Edwards, who is a lifelong advocate for civil rights, an electrician and union leader, and member of Portland’s African American community, proposed the day of recognition for Parks.

In unison with the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks’ courageous demonstration greatly contributed to the passing of the Civil Rights Act, a landmark federal law adopted in 1964. The law bans discrimination on the basis of race, skin color or national origin.