Mr. President: Enforce, Restore, Expand our Civil Rights! - Mass rally July 25th in LA

For immediate release, July 23, 2012                                                                     

Contact Sunyoung Yang, 213.387.2800

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Bus Riders Union launches national campaign calling for President Obama to restore one million hours of bus service in LA and restore public’s right to sue for civil rights.

Mass rally backed by region-wide coalition planned for July 25 @ 11AM at LA City Hall

Following the breakthroughs of DREAM Act students and the LGBTQ rights movement in moving President Obama to take strong stands for civil rights in an election year, the Bus Riders Union is launching a national campaign calling on President Obama to stand for the civil rights of Black and Latino transit riders in Los Angeles. The organization, whose landmark lawsuit and grassroots Billions for Buses campaign is a nationally recognized civil rights issue, is calling for the President to restore one million hours of bus service slashed over four year by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

"Barbara Lott-Holland, co-chair of the BRU said, "This is a major civil rights test case for President Obama. With clear evidence that the nation's second largest mass transit agency violated federal civil rights law, the case offers President Obama an important opportunity to bring justice to 500,000 Black, Latino, and Asian-Pacific Islander bus riders who have been slammed by service cuts and fare increases. It will also send a powerful message that the federal government will enforce Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Intervention by the President will open doors for communities around the country to more aggressively pursue enforcement of civil rights laws, from housing to education, police abuse to health care."

The campaign will urge the President to overturn a recent decision by a top transit official that ignored compelling evidence that LA Metro vioFor immediate release, July 17, 2012 Contact Sunyoung Yang, 213.387.2800 lated federal civil rights regulations when it cut bus service over the last four years. Where the Federal Transit Administration failed to exercise its enforcement powers, the campaign will ask President Obama to find LA Metro guilty of violations and, as a remedy for the violations, order the agency to restore one million hours of service.

"That LA is a lynchpin for Obama's re-election campaign raises the stakes of for his possible intervention even higher. Although California is not considered a swing state, the President has made LA one of his most frequent fundraising destinations. He has chosen LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraiogsa, as Chair of the Democratic National Convention in September," said Sunyoung Yang, lead organizer with the Bus Riders Union. "Sadly, Villaraigosa, as Chair of the LA Metro Board, stood by as Metro staff took no action despite revelations from the FTA review that the agency knowingly violated civil rights when it cut bus service between 2007 and 2011."

The campaign will also urge the President to take a stand for the restoration of the public's right to sue government agencies for racial discrimination under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This right was the basis for the BRU's landmark 1994 lawsuit against LA Metro, but was taken away by a 5-4 decision by the Right-wing block of the US Supreme Court in the case of Alexander v. Sandoval (2001). The Bus Riders civil rights suit against the MTA in 1994 is a prime example of why that right needs restoration. The rally on the steps of L.A. City Hall will call on President Obama to make LA a beacon of civil rights and put an end to what the BRU calls "transit racism."