Pone Vongphachanh exemplifies dedication and advocacy, standing as a symbol of resilience and progress in the Greater Fort Wayne area. As the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of New Haven, her journey unfolds like a map of commitment, marked by milestones in creating a better future for the community.
A proud member of the Citilink Board of Directors, Pone chairs the External Stakeholder Relations Committee, guiding the way towards equitable transit solutions. With Transit Equity Day approaching on February 4th, coinciding with the birthday of Rosa Parks, Pone’s story is a poignant reminder of the civil right that public transportation represents for us all.
“Transit Equity Day commemorates the past, recognizes present efforts, and advocates for ongoing needs as we progress into the future,” she passionately asserts. For Pone, transit equity is more than a phrase; it’s a lifeline connecting communities, fostering economic growth, and ensuring no one is left behind.
As an immigrant who grew up in Fort Wayne, Pone’s experiences and background reflects the struggles of many families facing transportation challenges. “When my family moved here, my parents faced a language barrier, making it challenging for my father to obtain a license and navigate public transportation. This personal experience fuels my commitment to advocate for accessible and affordable public transportation.”
As Transit Equity Day approaches, Pone’s story becomes a beacon, illuminating the impact of transit inequity on individuals and communities. “I’ll provide an example from my own family,” she shares. “My aunt, who was unable to drive, required dialysis three times a week. Thanks to the past efforts for transit equity, she could access transportation to her appointments and lead a fulfilling life.”
Transit Equity Day is a catalyst for change, offering a platform to educate leaders and non-riders about the importance of public transportation. Pone believes this day provides an opportunity for elected officials and those not reliant on the public transit system, to personally experience mass transit and address the tangible impact of transit equity issues on people’s lives.
“Effective, economical, and accessible public transportation enhances mobility, enriches quality of life, and promotes social fairness,” she emphasizes. For Pone, accessible and affordable transportation is a cornerstone for social and economic justice.
Pone’s story illuminates the importance of having a reliable system of transportation, and Transit Equity Day can become the movement to ensure lasting change. “It has the potential to increase awareness about barriers to accessible and affordable transportation in a real and relatable way,” Pone envisions.
In the tapestry of our community, Pone’s story is just one thread in the many, weaving through progress and resilience. As the nation celebrates Transit Equity Day, her story becomes a testament to the transformative power of equitable transit, paving the way for a more inclusive and connected future with each journey.