We are bus riders and transit advocates across Metro Detroit organizing to fight for better public transit throughout the region. Transit justice is fundamental to achieving a just society, of racial equality, opportunity, environmental justice, and freedom of mobility for all people, no matter their age, ability, or class. We believe that transportation is freedom, and that we can win it through the power of grassroots community organizing.
When a handful of dedicated bus riders and veteran transit activists came together to found the Motor City Freedom Riders in the summer of 2014, we didn’t have any paid staff members, T-shirts, or big grants from foundations. Actually, we didn’t have any money…other than bus fare, of course.
What we did have was a burning commitment to work for expanded public transit—“transportation freedom”—in metro Detroit, and a knowledge that the old strategies weren’t working.
We couldn’t count on politicians to move transit forward. We, the bus riders, and our allies around the region, had to lead the work for transit through grassroots organizing and advocacy. To win freedom of movement, we had to build a movement ourselves.
We’ve come a long way over the past 3 years. We successfully petitioned for the City of Detroit to make DDOT accountable for improving reliability by making bus performance information public. We took on the Oakland and Macomb County administrations to get a regional transit proposal on the ballot, and did our darnedest to get voters to the polls to support it. Since the very narrow defeat of the proposal last November, we’ve been building our strength to push the County Executives and Detroit Mayor to put a revised transit plan back on the ballot next year.
This is a critical time. If we don’t get transit back on the ballot in 2018, we’ll need to wait till 2020 to have another serious shot at expanding public transit in metro Detroit. We have to dramatically expand our work over the coming year to make sure that transit makes it onto the ballot, and wins.
And to do that, we need your help. Continue reading “18 by ’18: Sustaining Our Fight for Transit”