Joint statement by:
TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool & LeVon Brewer,
UAW Local 2300 Unit President
The senseless killing of George Floyd is a painful reminder that our nation has still not found a way to honor the fundamental right for everyone to be treated justly and equally. We are forced once again to reflect on the ignorance and hatred that have not only undermined the laws of this country, but have also dashed the hopes and dreams of too many for far too long.
Across the nation, public transit has long been a leader in providing access and opportunities for all community members following the hard-won fight against segregation and Jim Crow laws. There is an eternal debt of gratitude and allegiance to be paid for the bravery and blood, sweat and tears of our civil rights leaders who had to make a stand just to give Black riders the very simple right to sit where they want to on a transit bus their very own taxes paid for.
So many years later, recent horrific events make it obvious that our work is far from over. It is imperative that the public transit industry reinvigorate its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. And, as public servants, it is very important that in doing so we remain open and accountable to everyone we serve.
Our TCAT family has often been proud to say that we strive to serve all individuals in Tompkins County with respect and dignity, whether they work for us, do business with us or ride with us. But the many inexcusable events of senseless violence towards Black Americans, underscored by the horrendous killing of Mr. Floyd on May 25, has jolted us into becoming more insistent and vigilant that we do what we promise.
As such, TCAT management is joining with the United Auto Workers Local 2300, which represents our bus operators, maintenance crew and custodial staff, to stand together in fulfilling the following commitments by:
- Participation in a county Transportation Equity Task Force that works to provide opportunities and social justice for all individuals
- Changing our TCAT mission statement to prioritize inclusion and equity
- Exploring the creation of a diversity committee comprised of TCAT employees
- Reviewing diversity and inclusion statistics, and re-examining equal opportunity policies to provide better outcomes to meet our goal of having an inclusive and diverse workforce
- Continuing to support external enterprises and initiatives aimed at tackling social and racial injustice
- Continuing to support minority-owned businesses
- Engaging our workforce on issues relating to racial discrimination and social injustice and by creating an environment in which employees feel able to have open dialogue and raise any issues they encounter
We stand together in hope, solidarity and optimism for a better future.
Sincerely, Scot Vanderpool and LeVon Brewer