Film highlights groundbreaking tactic, decision resulting in safe bus ride to mall


By Terry Mikesell, Columbus Dispatch,

To get to her job at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, a pregnant woman used to ride the public bus system from her home to Wright State University, then walk a mile at night across a busy multilane overpass that intersects Fairfield Road with Interstate 675 near Dayton.

No bus stops were available at the mall.

“She took her life in her hands to go to work,” Wilma Righter, a member of Leaders for Equality & Action in Dayton (LEAD), explains in recounting the woman’s story in “Free To Ride.”

The documentary — produced by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University and inspired by the work of LEAD — chronicles the battle to get bus service to the mall despite opposition by Beavercreek City Council.

“It was not surprising that something like this could happen,” said Matt Martin, a senior researcher at the Kirwan Institute who wrote and produced the movie. “And, honestly, it happens in every city and region across the country.”

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