The below statement was released on June 4, 2020
Dear BikeVentura Supporter,
We are an active, nonprofit, grassroots organization whose mission is to grow a safe, healthy, community through equitable bicycle education, empowerment, and advocacy. We believe anyone that wants to should be able to ride a bike and feel safe – not just from cars, but safe from systemic racist oppression and police brutality. We therefore stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and take seriously our pledge to be anti-racist.
We recognize that traditional bike advocacy — including our own at times — has only considered the needs of the privileged – the privileged who ride free from worries about a racist system that will dehumanize, hurt, or even kill them.
You’ve ridden your bike before; been honked at, shouted at, or felt a car pass so close to you, you had to clench your teeth and hope it didn’t squeeze you into a parked car. “I’m just trying to get to where I’m going” is your plea to the drivers of cars. This in no way can compare to the daily experiences of a black person in America, who suffers transgressions in all aspects of their life, whose plea to everyone around them might be “I’m just trying to live.”
We are going to keep doing our work with the underserved communities of Ventura, keep helping people fix their bikes, and we will keep on pushing for safe infrastructure that connects all neighborhoods regardless of socio-economic status. But we will also fight practices that keep that infrastructure from really being “for everyone.” We will call on Police Departments to stop bicycle and pedestrian enforcements that disproportionately target people of color. We will support suppliers and partners that align with anti-racist views and policies.
And we will continue to listen and learn from the black and brown community members of Ventura County, while also taking it upon ourselves to do the work, research and trainings to make ourselves a more inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist organization. Along the way, we’ll probably make mistakes, but we will hold ourselves accountable and responsible each and every time, because that’s what it is to be an ally.
We encourage you to read up on the experiences of black and brown people biking in the USA:
- ‘Biking while black’: Chicago minority areas see the most bike tickets
- How Riding your Bike can Land you in Trouble with the Cops…if you’re Black
- Stop Killing Us: A Real Life Nightmare by Tamika Butler
- Bicycle/Race – Transportation, Culture, and Resistance
- Biking While Black – from Bike East Bay
If you have any questions, lessons, or suggestions for BikeVentura, you can write directly to our Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
BikeVentura Board and Staff