Detroit Pistons partner with Rosa Parks' estate to provide free bus fare

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click to enlarge Detroit Pistons partner with Rosa Parks' estate and Detroit Department of Transportation. - Screenshot via Detroit Pistons / Instagram
Screenshot via Detroit Pistons / Instagram
Detroit Pistons partner with Rosa Parks' estate and Detroit Department of Transportation.

Rosa Parks is one of the most prominent figures in Black history, and the Detroit Pistons have collaborated with the civil rights movement icon's estate to celebrate Black History Month and honor her birthday.

This weekend, Feb. 4 through Feb. 7, in partnership with Priority Health and the Knight Foundation, the organizations will offer free bus fare for Detroiters across the city.

“Mrs. Parks’ heroism and activism helped initiate a civil rights movement that changed U.S. history and continues to this day,” Pistons Chief Business Officer Mike Zavodsky said in a press release. “We are honored to kick off the beginning of this year’s Black History Month in collaboration with the Rosa Parks Estate. As we celebrate her life and place in our nation’s history, recent events demonstrate that significant work remains to advance equality and social justice for all. Our organization will continue finding ways to enhance economic opportunity, enrich youth education and support voting rights.”

The Pistons' partnership doesn't stop with just free bus fare for one weekend. They also created a commemorative merchandise line which will be available for sale starting Feb. 4. The line includes T-shirts, hoodies, and a bomber jacket. Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) drivers were gifted the jacket and will wear them on Friday.

The collaboration extends to the streets of Detroit as two DDOT buses and four bus shelters will be donning Rosa Parks-inspired artwork designed by artist Desiree Kelly.

“Mrs. Parks would be pleased with the Pistons' celebration of her legacy and, more importantly, with its outreach to the community,” said Elaine Steele, co-founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, in a press release. “As Mrs. Parks said, her mistreatment on the bus did not begin with her arrest in 1955 — she ‘did a lot of walking in Montgomery’. Today, the public buses in the City of Detroit provide a critical artery for transport in the region and are ridden, driven and administrated by folks who will never be forced to the back of the bus again.”

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About The Author

Alex Washington

Born and raised on Detroit's Westside, Alex Washington is about as Detroit as they come. She judges your coney island order and serves a mean side-eye when anything across Eight Mile is called "Detroit." Her writing has been published in Real Detroit Weekly, The Detroit Free Press, Model D, BLAC magazine, and...
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