Off the Chain with Tamika: Building Community

"Off the Chain with Tamika" is LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler's monthly letter to the LACBC family. Here is the latest for October.

Hi LACBC Family,

It’s been an exciting month since I last checked in! I’m now a married lady, well rested from a honeymoon, and more pumped than ever about what’s ahead for LACBC.

To wrap up this month, I’m excited about LACBC’s opportunities to talk about our work and have some fun. Let’s start with the fun. On Thursday, October 29th, we’ll be throwing our second annual Firefly Ball! Last year’s gala was phenomenal, but we’re upping the ante and honoring some great folks for all they do for biking in Los Angeles. Check out the event here, buy tickets, and celebrate with us.

This weekend, we’ll be celebrating five years of CicLAvia, riding around the Heart of L.A., and unveiling the limited run of our #bikeLA shirts for people who sign up or renew their membership.

Finally, we’ll be speaking on a number of panels and as one of the plenaries at the California Bicycle Summit in San Diego. The focus of the summit is equity, and it’s an appropriate link to what I’ve been talking about in my first year at the helm of this amazing organization. In addition to talking about equity, the whole team at LACBC has been working to put our fight against inequity into action. This hasn’t always been an easy lift. It’s a cultural shift for LACBC and the bicycling advocacy world as a whole, but we’re committed to not only doing it for ourselves and for the Los Angeles community, but also leading the way nationally.

I have centered my vision for the organization on utilizing the bicycle as a tool for social justice and making social justice the center of our work. We can be better by building bridges and rich coalitions with groups that might not otherwise talk about bikes.

Bikes bring people together and build community. It’s part of why I love bikes, this job, and this organization. Community should be inclusive and reflect Los Angeles’ diversity.

Inclusion requires being intentional and prioritizing historically marginalized communities. We’re working with new partners to elevate the voices of the marginalized who have lacked a voice. We want the voices of women, youth, low-income people, people with disabilities, and people of color to better inform and lead our work.

In building community that is diverse and inclusive, we need to consider a myriad of issues like displacement, housing, and community development. We’re speaking up about how bikes factor in, but we’re also making sure that sometimes we just step back, listen, and support. This work has been transformative for us as individuals and for LACBC as an organization. It’s allowing us to participate in new spaces where bikes might otherwise be forgotten and inform our policy and advocacy work in new and exciting ways.

We hope you’ll continue to be engaged, get involved, and let me know if there is ever anything that you have questions about.  My vision is always informed by what our members want and need. I’ve loved getting to know so many of you and look forward to talking with more of you as I close out my first year. Thanks for your support. I’ll talk to you next month!

Ride On!

Tamika Butler
Executive Director
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

P.S. Our goal is to increase our membership by 10% by the end of November, and we hope you’ll help us get there by becoming a member, renewing, or encouraging a friend to join.

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