Bike Transit unequivocally, absolutely supports nationwide protests and Black Lives Matters
Typically at Bike Transit, we work behind the scenes. Indego is the Philly brand, Metro Bike Share in LA, RTC Bike Share in Vegas, Bloc delivery, our new baby startup. Our employees work in all weather everyday and night to take care of our bike share systems. We have powered over 4 million bike rides, through hurricanes, blizzards, strikes and now a pandemic. We have incredible city partners, and have been honored to grow with them, in implementing and operating bike share systems that are equitably planned, marketed and operated. With the unpredictable world of bike share and Silicon Valley scooters, Bike Transit is still here.
While doing this, for the past 4 years, Bike Transit has quietly prioritized and institutionalized diversity, equity and inclusion, and powered equitable bike share in our cities. Our background position is humble, and safe. However, the time is now that Bike Transit, and I as its leader, must change that. Specifically, the act of writing this post is both an acknowledgement of the power and position that I have, or can have, as a CEO, and it is my transition to being an active anti-racist leader, not only internal to the company, but outwardly as well.
Bike Transit unequivocally and absolutely stands in solidarity with our black colleagues and the black communities we serve against racism of all kinds – historic, systemic, micro-aggressed, unconscious and outright. The facts, knowledge and belief that the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, the white woman’s threat to Christian Cooper in Central Park, and the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of black people who have been murdered, lynched, oppressed, enslaved, imprisoned, for hundreds of years, are the result of deep-seated institutional racism in American society since its beginning. We have tried at Bike Transit, brick-by-brick, to dismantle the foundations of racist institutions, through equitable access to bike share, equitable operations, employee education, HR policy and hiring. And leaders in our company, myself included, must constantly examine and intentionally correct how our racist society is impacting what we do at Bike Transit and in our lives.
We at Bike Transit stand behind the protests, are allies to Black Lives Matter, and the movement to disassemble the foundations of institutional racism. We will continue to work to implement such practices in our company and in our bike share systems. To further this mission and amplify the voices of those who are on the front line of this battle, we have made donations to The Minnesota Freedom Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Know Your Rights Camp. These donations follow past significant support for the ACLU, and for local groups in our communities providing programming, infrastructure and support for the safe streets, transportation and youth support.
In the coming weeks, Bike Transit will be creating safe spaces for our employees to discuss their experiences and opinions, and identify ways to be agents of change. The first such conversation happened in LA on Friday and we will be providing similar forums on a regular basis, both local and company-wide in the future .
I am angry at all of this, and I can only imagine the anger that people of color feel, having experienced everyday discrimination their whole lives. As a leader, however, I do not do well being motivated by anger. I have come to understand that the change I lead is motivated by a positive and hopeful vision, and is implemented piece by piece. I have led Bike Transit in this way in implementing our bike share systems, and in implementing BOOST, Bike Transit’s company-wide DEI working group. The bike share systems that we have launched and the hard work that we do every day may not seem revolutionary, but our work has supported the transportation equity movement. Our employees share our long-term commitment to true equity in our society, where every person is treated as a human, and have the same opportunity in life, no matter their race, gender, income standing or background.
One thing I am aware of as I write this: I have made and will make mistakes along the way. They will be active mistakes, and that is incredibly scary. To date, I have been an outwardly passive actor and not used my power and my position to advance anti-racism. I have stayed safe and therefore have supported racist people and institutions. That must stop. As a middle-aged woman, I have had my power marginalized to men, and even given them power because its safer. With this moment, I am vowing to be more than an ally, but a true partner with the black community and people of color, and to take my position of power to advance in solidarity against racism, despite the associated personal, professional, public risks that come along with this promise.
Perhaps I can help supply an extra push to the battering rams to destroy the ugly foundations of racism in America.
Founder, Owner, President and CEO of Bicycle Transit Systems
UPDATE: With this post, I’m challenging leaders in the bike, bike share and micromobility industry to use your power, your positions, to look at your organizations, take actions, educate yourself and your staff, have conversations, take a public stand. If you don’t have that power in your organization, push the folks in power to do so. It’s scary and risky. Reach out to me and let’s take that step together to become active anti-racists, and put bikes and transportation at the forefront of bringing down systemic racism.
If we are not active against, we are passively supporting racism.