Expanding a Conversation on Bikes and Race

We have been having a number of conversations about the intersections of bike equity and racial equity--critical issues for Minneapolis and for the Bicycle Coalition. In light of the tragic officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark, we want to expand these conversations even further.

Our city is in the midst of an enormous moment of community pain, reflection, and--hopefully--forward progress. This is a moment fundamentally to advance justice and make a stronger and more meaningful commitment to addressing racial disparities. Local organizers of color are giving us actions and ideas for addressing these real challenges facing too many in our community. We hope that everyone will take this moment to truly listen to those ideas.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition works to inspire people to bike and for a Minneapolis where EVERYONE feels comfortable riding. We do that because we know that the bicycle can be a powerful tool to improve individual's lives and our community. And we do that while understanding that bicycling intersects with many other issues, including those at the fore of protests that ran along Plymouth Avenue at the 4th Precinct.

Work to advance bicycling in Minneapolis simply cannot be successful if we do not serve the needs of all our diverse communities. We cannot be successful if we leave behind, ignore, or do not serve communities of color. We cannot be successful if we ignore concerns that both fear of crime and fears of police racial profiling and brutality are barriers to more biking.

We are not shy in saying that the status quo can and needs to be improved for many things that impact biking. There can be no doubt that police conduct and community relations can and must be improved and that will require change. There can be no doubt that the disparities between black community members (and other communities of color) and white community members in our city are unacceptable and addressing them will require change.

We are committed to proactively doing what we can within our work around biking to address racial disparities, institutional racism, and injustices. We know that biking is only a small part of a much larger body of work that touches all parts of government and society, but we know that biking can play a role. At this challenging time, we hope that our community will come together like never before to advance justice and opportunity for all.

For more on the intersection of these complex issues, we recommend this piece from last year by Adonia Lugo, a national leader on the bicycling and equity issues.

This post was originally posted on our Facebook page November 20, 2015. This is the beginning of a conversation. Please look to us in the future for more on the intersections of bike equity and racial equity, and we would love for you to share your thoughts and feelings with us. We have a Diversity and Equity Committee, which meets monthly to discuss these issues and work toward progress both within our organization and in our community. If you are interested in the Diversity and Equity Committee, please email Laura Kling at laura@mplsbike.org.

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