While venturing to Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood during vacation last fall, Braintree resident Natalie Ornell said she was inspired by a simple tribute displayed on a city bus: a decal honoring Rosa Parks.
It was a long way from Montgomery, Ala., where Parks, a civil rights icon, was arrested more than 60 years ago after she refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white man. Ornell was even further from her home state, where she is now pushing lawmakers to pass legislation that would honor Parks with a similar decal on MBTA buses.
“I was really moved by it,” Ornell, 27, said in a phone interview. “I thought that it would be great if we could do that in Boston. . . . There’s so much more that could be done to honor Rosa Parks.”
At Ornell’s request, state Senator Walter F. Timilty, a Milton Democrat, filed a bill last month that would equip MBTA buses with a decal or LED display honoring Parks. The plan would require the decals be displayed in February, but Timilty said he intends to amend the legislation so that a tribute to Parks would be permanent.
“I don’t see anyone opposing this bill,” said Timilty, who is Ornell’s state senator. “To me, it’s a great gesture honoring a great American.”
Supporters of the legislation include the mayors of Quincy and Braintree and Boston At-Large City Councilors Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu, and Annissa Essaibi-George.
“I think it’s a fascinating idea,” Essaibi-George said.
A spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said his staff helped introduce Ornell to state transportation officials after hearing about her idea.
The office of acting Senate President Harriette L. Chandler said the proposal is being reviewed by the Joint Committee on Rules. State Senator Mark C. Montigny, who leads the Senate Committee on Rules, said he backs the decal idea and hopes to move it through the panel’s review process.
On Monday, the Cambridge City Council plans to vote on a measure offering its support for the decals.
Police arrested Parks on Dec. 1, 1955, after she refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man. Four days later, black riders began boycotting city buses.
In 2005, the MBTA marked the 50th anniversary of Parks’s protest by displaying signs in her honor inside buses, said Joe Pesaturo, a T spokesman.
Timilty’s legislation would put the MBTA in charge of rolling out the decals or LED display. The bill doesn’t specify how the state would pay for the tribute. (Pesaturo said the MBTA doesn’t comment on pending legislation.)
Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston NAACP, said honoring Parks on MBTA buses would send a powerful message.
“The legacy of Rosa Parks reminds us that each of us . . . has the power and agency to truly be a catalyst for change,” she said.