HRT Celebrates Rosa Parks on Transit Equity Day

HAMPTON, VA – Hampton Roads Transit celebrated the life and legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks on Transit Equity Day. About 100 people attended the celebration at Hampton Transit Center Monday morning.

William Harrell, President and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit; Vice Mayor Jimmy Gray, Hampton; Gaylene Kanoyton, President, Hampton Branch NAACP; and Gilbert Bland, President, Urban League of Hampton Roads were the guest speakers.

“HRT is proud to recognize Parks’ contributions to equity in public transit during Black History Month,” said Harrell. “Promoting equity and celebrating diversity is core to HRT’s values and who we are as a community.”

Parks was instrumental in the desegregation of buses when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955. Although she was not the first, her action that day sparked lasting change that paved the way for future generations.

“Like so many giants of her age, her lifetime of activism and her singular movement of courage continues to inspire us today,” said Bland. “She reminds us there is always something we can do.”

In 2023, the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads, HRT’s governing body, passed a Resolution honoring Parks by establishing the first Monday following her birthday on February 4, as Transit Equity Day.

As part of today’s program, Vice Mayor Gray read the Resolution before a plaque was unveiled that will hang at the HRT Headquarters in Hampton and Norfolk. The ceremony culminated in a moving performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” led by Monique Lynch, TRAFFIX Program Specialist.

A group of students from Phoebus High School’s Academy of the College Experience attended today’s ceremony as special guests of HRT. Many of them said they enjoyed the program and were honored to be there.

To highlight Transit Equity Day, HRT has reserved the front seat of every bus in Parks’ honor. Passengers can also take advantage of free fare on all bus, light rail, ferry, and paratransit services.

To learn more about transit services, as well as HRT’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,