A Letter from the Executive Director: We Are A Democracy Organization

To the entire Riders Alliance community-

I usually write to ask you to take action to improve public transit. Today is different. This is more personal.

Looking ahead to the coming years, I feel deep anxiety and uncertainty.

So I wanted to take a moment to explain why we do what we do at the Riders Alliance.

We are known as a transit organization; in reality, we are a democracy organization. Our mission is not only to win better trains and buses; it is to make our city more just, more inclusive, more compassionate, and more sustainable.

That is what public transit can do, and it is why we fight for funding, and for Fair Fares, and for better buses, and for all the other campaigns that have consumed our last few years.

We don’t yet know what the election results will mean for public transit. But we know that our work for better transit is part of the broader struggle: against bigotry, and oppression, and recklessness. For mutual respect, and compassion, and protection from harm.

So to our members, some of whom are feeling unsafe today, I wanted to share two key thoughts:

1) You are the source of our strength. Community organizing is about building democratic power, to hold our public officials accountable to our needs and our values. To the degree that the Riders Alliance can exercise that power in pursuit of justice, it is because all our treasured members have joined together to make it possible.

2) We will stand with you, and together we will be stronger. When New Yorkers are threatened with deportation, or harassment, or isolation, or poverty, it is our job to protect each other, and we take that responsibility seriously.

Public transit connects us and helps us move forward—literally and figuratively. It’s where we see each other and share in the experience of living in this city.

In the coming years, we will continue to work to improve public transit. Not because we love trains, but because we love each other.


John Raskin
Executive Director