(Kansas City, MO. – July 6, 2017) On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will present the KCATA Rosa Parks Spirit Awards celebrating individuals and organizations that, in the spirit of Civil Rights Leader Rosa Parks, are making a difference in metro Kansas City and in public transit. This marks the fifth year for the awards, whose honorees have included U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, one of KCATA’s first black bus operators Ray Harris, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the Downtown Council.
“Rosa Parks devoted her life to equality and justice,” said KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen. “Public transportation became a literal and symbolic avenue to improving quality of life for families. This year’s winners have distinguished themselves by working to provide more access to opportunity throughout our region. This year’s recipients represent the best of Kansas City – people who work for progress, for regional unity, and for access to a life of respect and dignity. We are deeply appreciative of their efforts and look forward to honoring them.”
This year’s award will honor these difference makers at a reception beginning at 5 p.m. at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, located at 1228 Main Street in downtown Kansas City. The honors include:
The Champion of Transit Award is presented to KCMO Mayor Sly James for taking extraordinary steps to advocate for public transportation in the Kansas City region. As early as 2007, Mayor James co-chaired the sales tax renewal campaign for transit, which passed by 65%. His advocacy, leadership and unwavering support led to the successful launch of Kansas City’s first streetcar in 50 years, generating ridership far beyond expectations. His commitment to transit continues today.
The RideKC Award is presented to Eileen Weir, Mayor of Independence, Mo., for demonstrating great strides in building a more integrated regional transit system. Weir’s leadership has been invaluable to a united pursuit to connect people to opportunities. She has stepped up to support and build the RideKC brand, and lend her support to such programs as free rides for veterans and free transit on Election Day.
The Community Partner Award is presented to an individual or organization that demonstrates collaboration and innovation to improve public transit and the quality of life in Kansas City. This year we honor a trifecta of amazing people who are improving the quality of life for veterans: Veterans Community Project, along with Councilwomen Heather Hall and Teresa Loar. They will be honored for their roles in providing veterans free fares on RideKC transit.
The Business Partner Award is presented to an individual or business whose support for public transportation demonstrates a commitment to improve the quality of life for workers, residents and visitors to the city. The 2017 Business Partner Award is presented to Pat “Duke” Dujakovich, president of the Greater KC AFL-CIO for leadership and financial commitment to provide free transit to those who have served our country.
To purchase tickets for the event, visit https://rosaparksspiritawards.eventbrite.com.