Proposed decal would honor Rosa Parks on MBTA buses

Massachusetts resident Natalie Ornell spoke in support of honoring Rosa Parks on MBTA buses May 21 at the Statehouse. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

A hearing on a bill to support honoring Rosa Parks on MBTA buses with a decal took place May 21 at the Statehouse.

The Joint Committee on Transportation moved Senate bill forward on June 4. It received a favorable recommendation from the Joint Committee on Transportation and is now under consideration of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The bill was filed by Sen. Walter Timilty, in response to a citizen request. Massachusetts resident Natalie Ornell traveled to Miami, Florida, in 2017 and saw bus decals honoring Parks. The decals have been placed in the front passenger windows of Miami buses since 2007, commemorating Parks’ role in desegregating buses during the civil rights movement.

Ornell said at the hearing, “This recognition for Mrs. Parks is long overdue in Boston, which has had its own difficult busing history.”

A statewide art contest in schools to design the decal would educate youth about what Parks stood for and the history of civil rights. The bill has support from the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, an agency cofounded by Parks to empower youth, and the Boston chapter of the NAACP. Local legislators have also supported the bill, including former Gov. Deval Patrick, nine of Boston’s 13 City Councilors, the Cambridge City Council and state Rep. Russell Holmes.

Parks has been honored with an annual Rosa Parks Day in California, Alabama, Ohio and Oregon.

Ornell said, “The permanent decal for Mrs. Parks on public bus windows would serve as a constant reminder to millions who take public transportation through all neighborhoods of Boston of her lifelong fight for equality.”

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England. Contact Ling-Mei at [email protected] 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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