Hillsborough County's mass transit agency righted a wrong Monday when it agreed to accept advertising from a local Islamic group after all. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit's turnaround was a victory for tolerance and common sense, and it showed what constructive engagement can do in the public realm even in this heated political climate.
The HART board's acceptance of an ad from the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations overturned a rejection vote last month that was rooted in poor reasoning and cultural bias and went against a staff recommendation. The ad featured the CAIR logo, along with the message: "Embracing Diversity at Work, Defending Civil Rights in the Community."
A display of public support for CAIR helped the board realize that such an innocuous message was hardly inappropriate for the side of a bus. And HART is going a step further, re-examining the broad language of an advertising policy that invites discriminatory treatment. This is a good ending to an embarrassing episode that began as a way to bring people together. And it shows that the drive for diversity and civil rights is still a work in progress.