“Nationwide about 80 cents out of every federal transportation dollar goes toward highways—used disproportionately by more affluent drivers—and only 20 cents goes toward mass transit systems, which are heavily used by people of color and by lower-income workers. When it’s time to distribute that 20 percent, regional authorities often favor light-rail systems for suburban commuters over bus lines for city riders.”—Boston Review — Amy B. Dean: The Road (and Rail) to Justice
“As workers and city officials try tirelessly to get the Big Apple back up and running, it’s worth taking a minute to look at how race keeps the city going. Chances are, if you were stuck inside and had the luxury of ordering a pizza or calling an emergency worker about downed power lines, that worker was likely someone of color. In his presser this morning, Bloomberg noted how dangerous the work is to get the subways back on track. “Subway workers have to walk the thousands of miles of track to inspect the subway tunnels,” the mayor said. Here’s a quick demographic look at New York City’s subway workers: --Three out of five urban transit workers are black or Latino. --A majority are at least 45 years old. --Nearly 80 percent are New York City residents. --Almost 35 percent live in Brooklyn. The work is, almost by definition, is a health hazard. It’s almost a rite of passage to complain about a city’s subway system, and no matter what city you’re in, transit workers are almost always represented poorly by the media and criticized for issues that are far beyond their control. But it’s in times like these when we all start to realize just how important their work is to our lives.”—Jamilah King, “Who’s Going To Fix NYC’s Subways After Hurricane Sandy? Public Workers,” Colorlines 10/30/12
To the man who sat across from me on the 50
I have desolate, jarring
thoughts about my future
Tonight, I saw your bare left ring finger,
and I felt hopeful.
Not because of our shared loneliness, but
because of the way your eyes lit up at
the little kid laughing across the aisle.
You reminded me of a boy
I thought I loved in high school.
Your cheeks blushed just like his.
We got off at the same stop.
You were the first person to walk far
enough behind me to make me
feel safe, yet close enough behind me
to make me feel safe.
And I want to thank you
for making me realize that
crawling into an empty bed at night
will not always be the end to my days.