By Marcy Rein
Santa Clara County's low-income transit users face some common challenges, whether they live in Gilroy, the Latino communities of East San Jose, or Sunnyvale. The buses they depend on cost too much, take too long, don’t run often enough or late enough, and are always at the end of the line for transit funding.The transportation sales tax proposed for the November 2016 ballot could begin to close the funding gap, but competition for the $6 billion the tax could raise will be stiff, and low-income transit users will need to press their case in a political process that has been dominated by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents the region’s major employers. But a diverse new coalition, the Transportation Justice Alliance (TJA), is taking the challenge head-on.
Low-income families in Santa Clara County spend more on transportation than their Bay Area neighbors. When they use transit, they are far more likely to use the bus than light rail—and bus riders face daily inconveniences and indignities that can deeply affect their lives. Two new groups in Silicon Valley have formed to give voice to bus riders and fight for better, more affordable service, and a fair share of transit funding for buses: Transit Riders United (TRU), organized by Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) and RUTU (Renovadores Unidos de Transportes Urbanos), Riders United for Transportation Revitalization, a project of Sacred Heart Community Service.
By David Bacon
By Alicia Garza
Since the first week of August 2014, a rebellion has grown in St. Louis, Missouri sparked by the murder of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. This is a rebellion fueled by state and police violence in working class black communities and its character demonstrates some very important shifts. Black youth are working diligently to re-calibrate this country’s moral center: building from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, they have created their own historical identity, rejecting respectability politics, embracing direct action, and tackling new forms of anti-black racism rooted in old forms of slavery. As the black youth in Ferguson are innovating movement vision, practice and purpose, will the rest of us in the progressive movement be able to catch up?