East Bay Residents Proclaim, "Rosa Was Right!"

Posted by: Gordon on 6/9/2014
Genesis Public Meeting
Gamaliel affiliate Genesis held a public meeting June 9 on the need for youth bus passes in Oakland area

This story by Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc is reposted with permission from SFNewsfeed

PLEASANTON, CA (6/9)- Genesis, a regional coalition made up of congregations and other institutions united for issues of social justice, convened a public meeting at St. Claire's Episcopal Church in Pleasanton calling for "Just Transit, Just Education." Faith and community leaders from all over the Bay Area gathered with over 250 people from throughout the East Bay.

"All across Alameda County, students are required to pay to ride public transit to school," said Marcia Lovelace from the First Congregational Church of Oakland, part of the Genesis Coalition. "This busts the notion that public education is fair and free with opportunity for all, when some children cannot access it because they lack bus fare. We will join together to say 'Rosa Was Right'-- that transportation can unlock countless opportunities.

Reverend Kurt Kuhwald of Oakland stated, "This is important to bringing word out to the community. Just because a few hills separate us and Oakland, we need to see that we are one community. We need to get those links established and communities united."

Dennis Fagaly of Oakland stated,"Transportation equity is vital to keep our area safe, free and just. I know there are neighborhoods where 80 percent of the people are transit-dependent and bus lines have been cut. There's one fellow I know, who had been looking for months and months for a job, but had to turn down a job because the job was at night and there was no night bus service."

Genesis is using this event to get the word out to Tri-Valley residents about issues of public transit (including paratransit) as a civil rights issue. In November 2014, there will be a transportation measure of which $15 million will be dedicated to bus passes for youth, as well as supplement and enhance transportation for seniors and those with disabilities.

"In Pleasanton, we understand the importance of good education. We have some of the best schools in the Bay Area, "remarked The Reverend Ron Culmer, Rector of St. Claire's of Pleasanton. "What a travesty it would be to know that some children in our county could not attain good education because of the lack of a bus pass..."

This sentiment was echoed by Reverend Joyce Parray Moore of Livermore, who stated,"I pray that if even one person can't afford to go to school due to bus fare, we come to realize that wherever we live in Alameda County, we are all part of the problem or part of the solution."

Three East Bay mayors Jerry Thorne (Pleasanton), John Marchand (Livermore) and Tim Sbranti (Dublin) were all asked about whether they supported the proposed transportation measure. Thorne stated, "Yes, para-transit, better public transit and immigration reform. I have been of the opinion that despite our differing opinions, people of good will can find common ground on these things."

Marchand stated,"I've been working on these issues for over the past 4 years. It's about solidarity. There were many concerned since the last time, there were proposals to bring BART to Livermore.

Sbranti said,"When it comes to these measures, I think of the 'BBs', being better BART, better buses, and better business for all of us."

Also at the meeting Genesis mourned the loss of all who have lost their lives due to gun violence, especially the youth. This morning, 3 people, including a 15-year old girl were victims of gun violence.

"We believe that giving opportunities to youth is THE anti-violence tactic that the region should support," The Reverend Scott Denman, Clergy Co-Chair of Genesis and Rector of St. John's Church Oakland stated,"We are asking all to 'back up our youth' so we can give alternatives, stop the violence and provide hope to our young people."

Erin Tolva, RN of Oakland, stated,"I hope that this gets some traction. It's time that progressive churches and congregations got involved in the political process. All the attention is focused on the right-wing and conservative churches, even though we are no less Christian. I'm tired of the right-wing churches dominating the media, when many churches and congregations are liberal and progressive. We just don't make enough noise."

Members of San Francisco-based Pace.Core came to the event to show support and solidarity. Gordon N. of Lincoln High School stated, "The event was very diverse and holy, and very informative..." Nora M. of City College of San Francisco said,"I really enjoyed the diversity of all the people and the communities assembled, not just by skin color and viewpoints. It was very educational!" Reverend Duhart of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland stated,"If justice flows like the waters of a river, then it must be true that the water touches us all..."

Michelle Pariset of Sacramento stated,"I think the event had a lot of energy and people dedicated to helping each other. Mary Lim-Lampe did a great job of organizing so many different groups and people and bringing them together..."
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