Community Unity in Action and the GRTC: a chat with Omari Al-Qadaffi
Last week, amidst the business of the Mayorathon and big GRTC announcements, Omari Al-Qadaffi and Community Unity in Action announced the filing of a Civil Right complaint against GRTC. We spoke with Omari to learn a little more about the complaint, and what we can all do to help get involved to ensure transit equality and justice for the East End.
First Omari told us a little about Community Unity in Action;
We are a coalition of nonprofits and community leaders that monitor the social justice issues in Richmond. We focus on more than just transportation, we also monitor housing, juvenile justice reform, issues surrounding food access and have supported the community throughout the RRHA heat crisis.
We asked Omari about the specific violations they are bringing to the attention of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) office of Civil Rights, here’s how he explained it.
Anyone that is receiving federal funds for their transit system is required to conduct a Service Equity Analysis before completing any major changes. We do not feel like they followed proper protocol when conducting the analysis. The analysis is done to assess the amount of disproportionate impact that would be suffered by minorities, and the disproportionate burden that would be placed on low income families.
Omari spoke on the previous complaint filed by the Richmond Branch of the NAACP in 2016. FTA has said that they were unable to hear the complaint until GRTC’s service equity analysis and Title VI update were completed. We wanted to know how other local leaders were responding to Omari’s new complaint.
Since the change in leadership at the Richmond Branch NAACP in 2017 we have not partnered with them as closely, and they are not involved in this case. I was really disappointed that City Council unanimously voted to approve the change after so many in the community came forward to ask for a delay on the vote to examine the analysis a little closer. The Stoney Administration has been receptive, and the office has reached out to get suggestions on how to right some of the wrongs that have impacted minority and low-income communities.
We wanted to know how people in the East End can get more involved and support this call for transportation justice
The Facebook page Leaders of the New South Community Council for Housing Volunteer opportunities and support opportunities are always available.
Update from Omari’s FB feed:
Last night, during the presentation of the City’s budget proposal, Mayor Levar Stoney acknowledged inequities in the Greater Richmond Transit Companynetwork by announcing his proposal to include $965K extra money for GRTC to increase frequency and coverage in areas that need it the most.