Public transit's role in fighting racism

CityLab Daily
Bloomberg

More than a ride: Martin Luther King, Jr. called urban public transportation "a genuine civil rights issue" more than 50 years ago, and his comments still resonate today. As the current Black Lives Matter protests reach a more diverse audience, "our best shot to make progress on these challenges is right now," writes Darnell Grisby, a policy expert at the American Public Transportation Association.

Reflecting on his own experience with racism growing up in Southern California, Grisby explains how public transportation can help "reestablish the public realm, provide the space for a new social contract to emerge, and connect communities to opportunity." He offers three recommendations for changing transit according to those principles. Today on CityLab: To Fight Racism, Transit Has a Key Role

-Alex Wittenberg

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John Lewis, proponent of "good trouble" (1940-2020)

Lewis stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in February 2015. 

Photographer: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

The legacy of Representative John Lewis, the iconic civil rights leader from Georgia who died at age 80 on Friday, is indelible in the American psyche. Lewis was the "youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington," and he was bloodied and beaten across the South during the fight to end Jim Crow laws. More than a half-century later, Lewis, who represented Atlanta for 33 years, embraced the uprisings across the country following the police killing of George Floyd, seeing them as a continuation of his life's work.

Now, that legacy could be memorialized in a place central to the struggle for civil rights. An online petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama — the site of the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march — after Lewis has garnered almost 500,000 signatures. The bridge currently commemorates a Confederate soldier and local Ku Klux Klan leader, and the effort to rename it comes as cities across the country reckon with monuments to Confederate leaders as part of a broader conversation about structural racism.

What we're reading

  • The border patrol was responsible for an arrest in Portland (The Nation)
  • Trump plans to expand federal invasion of U.S. cities (Mother Jones)
  • The depression-era book that wanted to cancel the rent (The New Yorker)
  • The pandemic has pushed aside city planning rules. But to whose benefit? (New York Times)
  • Your Zoom interrogation is about to start (The Marshall Project)
  • Inside Citizen, the app for reporting on the crime next door (Wired)

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