Landing a seat may not always happen on Muni but if Supervisor Shamann Walton’s requests are heard, Rosa Parks will always have one in San Francisco.
Walton on Tuesday called for Muni to mark a permanent seat for Parks and in honor of Black History Month. The call was sparked by a moving letter he received from a San Francisco resident and public transit rider of 27 years.
“As a person with a painful disability that often has me searching for a seat at the front of the bus, I would rather remain standing and in pain, looking at a seat that honors Ms. Parks than sit in comfort, ultimately forgetting the enormous contribution Ms. Parks made to all of humanity,” the unnamed constituent wrote. “The city of San Francisco, long considered a leader in recognizing civil rights, should do nothing less.”
Rosa Parks is one of the most famous names in the civil rights movement for refusing to sit in the back of the bus during segregation in 1955. (Earlier that year, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was also arrested for refusing to move but as a pregnant teen, civil rights leaders felt Parks would make a better symbol.)
Some transportation systems in counties San Joaquin and Milwaukee counties temporarily place a commemorative sign but cities like Peoria, Ill. and Fort Wayne, Ind. have at least one permanent seat for Parks. Walton also called for a permanent seat on Muni, which he has been in contact with.
“We are excited to work towards this overdue honor for Rosa Parks and are waiting to hear back from SFMTA on how to work towards making this happen,” Walton tells SF Weekly. As he wrote online, “We should be paying homage and honoring Rosa Parks with a permanent seat on Muni.”