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Movement Building

Black Lives Matter Allies in Change

Interview by Margi Clarke and Preeti Shekar

In September 2015, Reimagine! invited five Bay Area activists to discuss how their organizations and communities relate to the Movement for Black Lives.  Our wide-ranging discussion lasted over 90 minutes.  You can listen online at: reimaginerpe.org/radio. Below we share some edited excerpts of the conversation, organized by speaker.

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Transit Allies Fight for Share of Sales Tax

By Marcy Rein

Community meeting on proposed transportation sales tax, at Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, Sept. 9, 2015 © 2015 Tiburon

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.

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Bus Riders Step Up for Better Service

One of the busiest transit stops in San Jose, downtown on Santa Clara Street. ©2015 TiburonLow-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.

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