As safe streets advocates, we must actively work against systemic racism.
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Sandra Bland. Atatiana Jefferson. Dominique Clayton. Tony McDade. Dion Johnson. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Mario Woods. Alex Nieto.
Heartbreak. Anger. Frustration. Action.
As safe streets advocates, we must actively work against systemic racism now and always.
Systemic racism saturates our country and it saturates our streets, from police violence to traffic violence.
When it comes to traffic violence, here in San Francisco we know that people of color are far more likely to live on and near the streets with the highest numbers of traffic crashes. People of color are more likely to be killed in traffic crashes, too. And neighborhoods of color in our city have historically been short-changed when it comes to the street improvements that protect people walking.
Walk SF’s values and advocacy priorities reflect the urgent need to end these injustices. But I also know we’re not doing enough, and we must do better. If we want to ensure that our streets are safe for everyone in our communities, we must include and prioritize our Black neighbors more effectively and in every way possible. Our streets must be safe for Black parents walking their children to school, for Black people going about their daily business – and simply taking a walk.
Until then, our work continues. Because when we consider the question, “Safe streets for whom?” the answer can only be: For our Black neighbors. For our Brown neighbors. For our Indigenous neighbors. But it’s going to take commitment and new ways of working to achieve this vision.
That’s why Walk SF’s staff and Board are discussing new ways to make anti-racism part of our work every single day, to constantly question our biases, and hold ourselves accountable. We must do all we can – and do it with great intention – to turn the tide on racism.
Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director
Walk San Francisco