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Advocacy Newsletter: Change Begins with a First Step

Advocacy Newsletter, July 22, 2020

Join us tomorrow (Wednesday, July 22) in rolling with the Northern Michigan Anti Racism Task Force. We riding to oppose racism and elevate the discussion of systemic racism in our community, institutions, and homes. And to spread some joy. More Info: Solidarity Slow Roll

Reading Time: 4+ Minutes

Hello Supporter,

Grand Traverse recognizes what’s right and shows up when it’s time to represent. We are wearing masks and taking precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We’re also joining the cause to end racial injustice and discrimination. We have plenty of work to do on both efforts, yet we stand together, committed – thank you.

In this month’s Advocacy Newsletter, I’m sharing what I’ve been reading since nationwide protests erupted in response to the murder of George Floyd. These essays and news reports highlight the broader picture of systemic racism expressed in the design of our communities. We’ve generally talked about these issues before when we talk about a happy, healthy, strong community by design. The struggle for ending racial discrimination runs on parallel tracks. The following reading list will make that clear.

  • Walking While Black – A ProPublica report sheds light on the disproportionate use of pedestrian tickets against Black people in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is also notorious for the lack of pedestrian infrastructure. Predictable, and #dangerousbydesign, the city consistently ranks in the top five most dangerous cities for people on foot.
  • Who Was More Likely to be Ticketed for Violating Stay Home Orders? – Yup, you guessed it. Back in early May, the data already clearly showed that black people were being ticketed for participating in a “non-essential activity” at a far higher rate than white people.
  • Placemaking When Black Lives Matter – As we rethink our cities and devote resources towards transforming places for people, Annette Koh rightly argues that we need to use that process to address “existing injustices.”
  • How Race Shaped America’s Roadways And Cities – As America rapidly expanded post-WWII, it was the disenfranchised communities of color that suffered. They often continue to suffer from those policies today. “Oftentimes, communities of color have the wrong complexion for protection,” says professor and writer Robert Bullard. Extra: America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress.
  • The Curb-Cut Effect – Angela Blackwell describes how policies and programs that benefit vulnerable groups have cascading positive effects for everyone. Striving for equity helps everyone and the humble curb cut stands as exhibit A.
  • GirlTrek and the Power of Walking Together – For over a decade, GirlTrek co-founders Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon have been leading healing walks for women of color. GirlTrek empowers members through improved health, deeper community connection, and dedication to being change-makers. Garrison and Dixon’s TED Talk is a powerful statement.

What’s on your reading list? If you’re willing to share, I’m eager to read. Shoot me an email or tag me at @NorteGary.

The above reading list relied heavily on America Walks Walking College study materials and #blacktwitter, which has been on fire in 2020.

 


It’s not too late to contribute to the Safe Crosswalks Rock effort. As we highlighted in last month’s Advocacy Newsletter, this year, Kaischa Smith is inviting us to paint happy rocks. When you’re ready, place them in the Elmwood crosswalk garden along Grandview Parkway. “Be safe. Be kind. Be thankful!” You rock, Kaischa.

QUICK SPINS 

  • Boardman Lake Loop Construction Begins –– Congratulations and gratitude to all the organizations, municipalities, and individuals making the loop happen. By the end of 2020, a safe, accessible, and beautiful trail from 16th Street to NMC’s University Center will be real. Whoop!
  • Construction Zone and Better Access –– Thank you to the City of Traverse City for addressing consistent and safe access through construction zones. A policy amendment is making its way through the adoption process. The proposed changes are encouraging and have spurred a joining of forces among builders, engineers, and advocates to address the issue.

Thank you, everyone, for supporting Norte’s efforts towards a more Pro Walk/ Pro Bike Grand Traverse. Our work is really a reflection of the great community already dedicated to community improvement. Please share this newsletter with friends and family and encourage them to sign up. Thank you!

With mask on, hands clean, and from a distance, onward and upward.

Gary Howe
  @NorteGary 
Advocacy Director

P.S. Is your business ready to be certified a Bicycle Friendly Business

Have a friend who is always talking about the streets and traffic? They can sign up below.

Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocacy