My father, Harry Sanders, passed away seven years. As those that know my family are aware, he was a key advocate from the start, three decades ago, for the Maryland Purple Line, a light rail line connecting Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton. God willing and the court system allowing, we’re six some years from opening day.
From the County Council and Executive to his legion of friends and colleagues, all the remembrances in 2010 included his devotion to improving transportation alternatives in our region as a citizen-activist that made people feel good about engaging in politics. I’ve been thinking a lot about that legacy in recent months and striking the balance of being indefatigable in pursuit of the public good, listening to a range of voices including opponents, and encouraging the next generation of activist.
Today, I’ve taken inspiration from the news that the Riverdale Park station will be a the boon it was meant to be, thanks to committed activists, elected leaders, and tireless staff work by both the private and public sector. It’s a reminder of what he was fighting for and what so many others have worked so hard to bring us to the cusp of delivering. Politics is full of loss and setbacks, we need friends and fellow activists to renew and carry on. Dad taught me that, but every week someone reminds me of it. I’m grateful for to so many. For those fellow transit advocates that knew him, I’m sure he’s proud of all the work you’ve done these past seven years. To all those seeking to connect our communities who never had the chance to meet him, you have my thanks.
Photo Credit: Purple Line NOW! Archives of the New Carrollton Locally Preferred Alternative Announcement in 2009.