"We believe that mobility equity is fundamental to human and civil rights. Car-centric transportation systems are fundamentally unfair and unjust, exclude the needs of those who cannot or do not drive, and discriminate against many of society’s most vulnerable people. We are committed to reversing these disparities by making equity a foundational principle of our work."
— Organizational Principle from the Active Transportation Alliance Strategic Plan
We are officers of the Active Trans board and chose to serve this organization in part because the staff, board, volunteers and members so passionately believe in the above equity principle from the updated strategic plan that the board adopted in January 2017, and the broader health, environmental and community-building power of active travel modes.
The Active Trans Strategic Plan also reflects that we give priority to “the power of partnerships…. with a diversity of communities, stakeholders and organizations” and building a movement that is “informed at all levels by diverse leaders, stakeholders and constituents — especially those who represent historically underrepresented or disenfranchised groups.”
We mention these principles because of some recent concerns raised about Active Trans' commitment to equity and inclusion principles.
At Active Trans, we value these principles but recognize that we can always do better. We will never be done growing towards becoming a more equitable and inclusive organization, and strategic plans are only as good as the actions that they inspire.
The Active Trans Strategic Plan provides guidance, and we continue to take steps to ensure that the organization works to foster an organization that includes staff and volunteers reflective of the rich, diverse city and suburbs that we serve; that utilizes ongoing training and planning to enhance competency in applying the values of equity, diversion and inclusion; and an organization that includes policy priorities and outcomes that reflect our commitment. We believe in both modeling a commitment to equity through mission advancement, while integrating these values into our operations.
Active Trans has been fortunate over the years to stand alongside low and moderate income communities and leaders in fighting for mobility equity, and are grateful for the lessons we have learned (and have yet to learn). For example, as far back as the 1980s when bike lanes had little support, Active Trans helped win bike lanes in Black and Brown communities and citywide.
We also helped shape the fight against new highways that have historically depleted or destroyed low income communities and we helped defeat or weaken proposals to cut transit in low income communities.
Other examples include Active Trans helping persuade transit agencies to put bike racks on buses and allow bikes on trains that particularly help low-income bike commuters (and others) get to work; supporting an anti-gentrification proposal for the 606; enthusiastically contributing to the expansion of Divvy into low income neighborhoods; leading the development of dozens of policies and bike/walk plans in low and moderate income suburbs; working to ensure all residents have safe access to open spaces, like the Lakefront, Big Marsh, and local forest preserves; participating in local planning projects in neighborhoods across Chicago, such as Riverdale, Englewood, and North Lawndale; spearheading a two-year campaign to make the state’s Safe Routes to School program more responsive to health inequity; and we were honored to play a role in introducing the PlayStreets program to dozens of low and moderate income Chicago neighborhoods.
We are proud to be part of an organization that prioritizes equity and inclusion and are committed to continuing the journey toward a more fair and just transportation future for Chicagoland.
Robert Hoel, Elmhurst, President
Kevin Stanciel, Chicago/Bronzeville, Vice President
Peggy Reins, Niles, Treasurer
Jeff Judge, Chicago/Lincoln Square, Secretary