Monday, January 20, 2014

Supporting Racial Unity on the Bus

The Montgomery city bus that Rosa Parks boarded. © Wikimedia/Maksim CC-BY-SA
Prior to the historic Civil Rights Movement, racial segregation was a well known infamous common practice in American society. Policies including the Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation policy until the 1960's from the state to local level. Such disgraceful policy mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in the Southern states which led to conditions for African Americans that were far inferior to those provided for whites. That included public transit buses.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a transit bus in Montgomery and sat in a seat that was not designated for the African American race. She was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. Edgar Daniel Nixon and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr responded selflessly and took leadership roles toward a public boycott of the Montgomery transit system which lasted well over a year and nearly brought the city-operated transit system to bankruptcy.

The fiasco finally concluded with a United States District Court case. The judgement of Browder v. Gayle ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. As we all know and celebrate today, King's role in the bus boycott transformed him into a national figure and the influential spokesman of the civil rights movement.

The civil rights movement still has work to do. Racial segregation continues to be a major issue in today's society. One undeniable issue is the lack of concern and leadership to combat gang violence and rebuild divided families in troubled African American neighborhoods like South Los Angeles and southern Chicago. Many in power simply ignore the true source of the issue which forces law-abiding African Americans to defend and protect their neighborhoods all by themselves. That's because trivial distractions obstruct the movements and leadership necessary to combat such grave issues.

Phony claims and nonsense such as the ill-advised notion that the expansion of LA Metro's rail transit system outside of South LA discriminates against African Americans only hurts the civil rights movement, divides the people and weakens their voice. That's because when a legit and grave controversy like an uptick in violent gang crime in troubled African American communities comes up, many in power simply walk away from the source which leaves behind a dangerous criminal culture in troubled communities where at-risk youth who have nowhere to go end up in the local street gang. The tragic results are time in jail or death.

The Transit Coalition is strongly committed to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and never takes positions or  discriminates on the basis on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation in any of its programs or activities. The gang violence happening in many African American and other ethnic communities throughout the country is serious. The issue goes beyond race. Communities like South LA, southern Chicago, San Bernardino, Riverside's Eastside, Moreno Valley, Fontana and downtown Lake Elsinore are troubled, but can become robust communities where peace, unity and justice prevail with selfless leadership. Good parenting, raising children with discipline, and maintaining strong families cannot be legislated, but the gang violence can be stopped once and for all with a strong, firm and universal message to rebuild the family unit which spans across all races. In addition, resources can be set aside for the good people so that they can step up and be loving mentors for the vulnerable youth who desperately need help and the discipline in order to keep them out of gangs and lead them to be the selfless productive workers and leaders of the marketplace of America. It's time for the civil rights movement to follow King's selfless legacy, unite the people who long for justice in troubled neighborhoods, and lead all races out of this dangerous and divisive situation.

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