Name: Grace Benson
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Profession: Part-time stay at home mom, part-time consultant
Likes: Being outdoors and exploring new places
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Current City: San Francisco
WHY DID YOU JOIN THE UP-STAND MOVEMENT?
Supporting the health and needs of women so they can continue to utilize public transportation throughout their pregnancy? We’ve needed this movement all along! I just visited Taiwan, where I grew up, and rode the metro frequently. I wasn’t pregnant on this trip, but I had a toddler in tow, which put me in the priority line for elevators and qualified me for priority seats along with pregnant women, the disabled, and the elderly. There were printed and TV ads reminding riders to give up seats, and ones letting people know they could pick up “I am pregnant” or “I need a priority seat” stickers at all the stations (and people wore them). One ad even said “Don’t be shy and come ask for a sticker” and “be mindful that you can’t always see someone’s need for a seat.” I thought, this IS the UP-STAND movement! While my own experience is only anecdotal, I did not ride the metro once without being offered a seat in Taiwan, no matter how short the trip. This pleasant experience made me return to public transportation time and time again over taxis. This is what UP-STAND is trying to do for pregnant women and parents – making public transportation safe and pleasant…it’s really a no-brainer!
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE MOVEMENT SO FAR?
I bought pins to give away to friends to support this awesome movement.
(She also gave us this great interview to spread the word!)
WHAT IS UP-STAND CURRENTLY WORKING ON THAT YOU REALLY HOPE COMES TO FRUITION/IS ATTAINED?
I am so happy to see that you’re advocating for more inclusive signage. I believe priority signs on public transportation should always include pregnant women. I was actually shocked to find out they were not already included when I became pregnant. It made me feel like I couldn’t expect someone to give up a seat for me even though I felt quite off-balanced and tired.
WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE TO SUPPORT PREGNANT WOMEN AND FAMILIES IN PUBLIC SPACES AND ON TRANSPORTATION?
I really loved being able to go in the priority line for elevators at metro stations in Taiwan – I’d love to see that in the U.S. too. But I think at the end of the day, creating more awareness and a culture that encourages riders to pay attention to fellow riders’ needs will accomplish the most. People are always busy reading or looking at their phones – we all need to look up more.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE TO STAY INVOLVED WITH THE UP-STAND MOVEMENT?
I really need to tell more people about it! I live in San Francisco, where people take advantage of public transportation often, and I have no doubt fellow passengers are eager to support pregnant women and parents.
Thank you so much, Grace!
Order your free Baby on Board pin, now available in New York City.
Support our advocacy efforts to improve public transportation for pregnant women and parents in NYC, and hopefully set a higher standard for the United States, by calling your City Council reps about Resolution 1514 and your State Assemblymember about A00586, two bills we worked to create.