To Our Community,
Last week, our members claimed some incredible victories in the fight for transit justice. Earlier this year, bus riders spotted the fare hike in TriMet’s budget projections, and we made it known: fare hikes are the wrong direction. Our transit system needs to increase ridership and work toward eliminating fares. Thanks to the pressure we generated through our Up With Riders campaign, TriMet has declared there will be no fare hike in 2020 – and two TriMet Board Directors stated that they’re considering how a fareless system could work. Just days later, TriMet announced they would push Metro to put fareless youth transit on the ballot in 2020.
These kinds of victories are only possible because of the grassroots donors who power our movement. Will you make a donation before the year ends to support transit justice?
We couldn’t have had such a successful week without our incredible Bus Riders Unite Organizer, Gaby Saldaña-López. “I’m so proud to be a part of Bus Riders Unite,” Gaby says, “Organizing to win real improvements alongside and for our members. Our members are our driving force and Up With Riders is bringing more and more members to OPAL to build power and win the future we really need.”
Gaby testified at the TriMet Board meeting on Wednesday morning, after leading dozens of members in an action outside. Some photos from the action are on OPAL social media. But one truly memorable moment from testimony was when BRU member José Mikalauskas took the microphone.
“As you can see I’m here in my Bus Riders Unite cape. I want to talk to you about a superpower I have,” Jose told the Board of Directors. “My superpower is organizing people.” José developed that superpower through the Organizers-In-Training program, OPAL’s ongoing initiative to build the next generation of movement leaders, community-rooted organizers, and environmental justice heroes. “If it wasn’t for OPAL, I wouldn’t have found my voice in advocating not only for myself but also my community. Communities of color that are the most marginalized here in Portland.” Jose says. “I want OPAL to continue this work and ask that everyone that is able to donate as much as they can to keep growing the next generation of leaders. Investing in OPAL means empowering our communities to amplify their voice. Please donate to continue stopping fare hikes and start paving the way for a fareless system.”
Just six months ago, before we launched Up With Riders, people told us fareless transit was impossible. But “impossible” is often just a code word that people in power use when they mean to say “politically inconvenient.” Today, fareless transit is a part of the public conversation, thanks to our work. We stopped the fare hike (for now), and are building power to win massive expansions in who rides public transit without fare. Another world is possible – and we’re winning it at OPAL. Please, make a generous year-end gift today.
The OPAL Family