Duluth to Observe Transit Equity Day Friday, DTA Offers Free Rides

DULUTH, Minn. – Friday would have been Rosa Parks’ 109th birthday.  The civil rights icon will be remembered in Duluth and dozens of other communities nationwide through Transit Equity Day.

A proclamation from Mayor Emily Larson honors Parks’ role in pushing for equal rights on public transit, which also comes during Black History Month.

“Making sure that we are affirming and celebrating and paying homage to the leaders in our community and across the nation,” says Alicia Kozlowski, the City of Duluth’s Community Relations Officer. “We’re just really proud of it.”

Kozlowski adds the proclamation also acknowledges the need to keep public transit affordable, accessible to those with disabilities, and possibly expand it to assist in limiting climate change.  “Public transit is an integral and foundational part of our community. It is was connects us.  It is what a lot of times determines economic advancement, and also really is a piece that strengthens the fabrics of our community.”

The Duluth Transit Authority is also assisting in observing Transit Equity Day, hanging posters on their buses that detail the role Parks and others like her, including Pauli Murray and Claudette Colvin, did in their protests on buses.  They are also making all fares free Friday on their fixed routes and for STRIDE passengers.

“We’re very excited to partner with the City of Duluth and Winter Bike Week,” says Rod Fournier, General Manager of DTA, “as we kind of reflect back little bit and see where we were.  Paying homage to Rosa Parks and her predecessors, and really what they have done to move us forward.  We feel this fits very well into the DTA’s mission, which always is to provide access equity.”

Fournier knows all civil rights efforts have far-reaching effects, but it’s important to acknowledge what it means for public transit.  “We really do look back to Rosa and her predecessors that really paved the way for transit equity, and we’ve come a long way.  We just take this time to celebrate that.”

People will also notice Enger Tower will be lit green in observance of Transit Equity Day Friday night.

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