Citilink, Fort Wayne's public transportation provider, today revealed a bus adorned with unique artwork paying tribute to civil rights activist Rosa Parks designed by local artist Theoplis Smith III, also known as Phresh Laundry. The wrap was sponsored by SEED Fort Wayne.
The bus commemorates Parks' 111th birthday on Transit Equity Day.Parks, famously known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, played asignificant part in ending legal segregation on public transportation systems in the United States. Her courageous act of refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Ala., bus sparked awave of protests. It ultimately led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling against segregation.
“Public transportation is a vital part of our growing and thriving community. The services and work being led by Citilink are making a meaningful difference,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “As a community, we must be committed to transit equity. Today is an opportunity to highlight theimportance of equity and meeting the needs of the public in a productive manner. By working together, we can have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of individuals and families.”
In partnership with minority-owned business Sky High Graphix, Citilink also created Rosa Parks decals, which will appear on every bus next to the corresponding seat where Parks remained steadfast. Limited-edition stickers matching the bus wrap will be available while supplies last.
The mural-wrapped bus will operate across the city for at least two years. The public isencouraged to visit the bus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the YLNI Farmers Market, 1501 E. Berry St.
Citilink recognizes the profound impact of public transportation in fostering an equitable environment within the community. In 2022, the organization made a Racial Equity pledge to the community.
John Metzinger, CEO of Citilink, expressed the organization's dedication to promoting racial equity.
"Public transportation plays a pivotal role in providing an equitable environment in ourcommunity. We’re thankful to honor Transit Equity Day again to raise awareness and increase local advocacy for Citilink’s riders. It’s a remarkable opportunity to reaffirm our focus on Racial Equity, and we're thankful to partner with Phresh Laundry to honor Rosa Parks,” he said.
The bus mural was also made possible by SEED, a Transit Trailblazer. Transit Trailblazers arethe early adopters in our community who see the value in Citilink and public transit, the oneswho are committed to amplifying our message and are at the forefront of advocacy.
SEED is dedicated to economic prosperity through equitable business growth and stable jobsfor our community. As a Transit Trailblazer, SEED understands that Citilink’s service is vital tothis prosperity.
“We are privileged to engage in Transit Equity Day and support the innovative Citilink bus wrapfeaturing Rosa Parks. Witnessing this bus traverse our city streets serves as a powerful reminder that even the seemingly small act of refusing to yield one's seat can catalyze significant and enduring change,” said SEED Director Andrea Robinson.
Citilink remains committed to providing safe, reliable, and inclusive transportation services to all residents of Greater Fort Wayne. Through initiatives like the Racial Equity pledge, events like the Transit Equity Day celebration, and free fare for Election Day, Citilink aims to foster acommunity that values diversity, equality and racial justice.
For more information about Citilink and the Rosa Parks bus, please visit www.fwcitilink.com.