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Off the Chain with Tamika: The Future Is Bright for L.A. County

Hey LACBC Fam,

Usually, I write my Off the Chain around the 15th, but this month we wanted to do it early because we have some BIG victories to celebrate. Everything we endorsed on the ballot won! Now in Los Angeles County, Measure M is a reality. Our work won’t end here, but the first step to #makeLACounty bikeable, livable, and connected is complete. There will also be more jobs and housing for all people in Los Angeles thanks to a victory on JJJ. We were part of a coalition to Build a Better LA and we couldn’t be happier. We’ll also see funding for parks with the passage of Measure A, and the equitable growth of green space is coming to your neighborhood.  Los Angeles took a stand to support our neighbors who are homeless and say that we won’t stand for it any longer thanks to an HHH victory. Finally, in Santa Monica, LV failed and sustainable development and affordable housing will continue to be a possibility in the city.

LACBC FAM!! WE DID IT!! Our staff worked ridiculously hard during this campaign season and I can’t thank them enough. We’ve been everywhere and doing everything we can to ensure victory and we did it. YOU did everything you could, you hosted personal phone banking parties and knocked on doors, you VOTED. You also showed up to all of our phone banking sessions at HQ and you made sure that other members of LACBC heard why these measures were important and made the right decision at the ballot box. Thank you. We could not have done this without you. As I said, our work isn’t over. These victories mean nothing if we don’t hold elected officials responsible and make sure implementation happens. We’re on the job and ready to do it. Sign up to be a member to celebrate, or support us by making a donation, or sign up to receive our updates. We’re still going to need you. If this election showed us anything, it’s that we’re stronger together. Let’s keep rolling, let’s make our vision of L.A. County a reality.

Oh, and one last thing before signing off. California often exists in a bubble and L.A. County a bubble within a bubble. But Tuesday was a big day for the nation. We don’t comment on national politics at LACBC; we’re here to make impacts on the local level, for you—our members. But I am also the Executive Director of an organization whose diversity matches that of our county.  When I look at my team this week, I know we are proud of our success as staff of this organization, but as people, we’re hurting. Your LACBC team is composed of people who have immigrated to this country, your team is composed of parents to daughters who still see a glass ceiling despite qualifications, your team is composed of people whose families live across borders and fears of families continuing to be ripped apart, your team is composed of people who are part of communities that face discrimination because of fear about who and how we worship, your team is composed of people who didn’t grow up with English as their first language and have had to fight to get where they are, your team is composed of some strong nasty women, your team is made up of people from low-income communities and communities of color who are so much more than just people with nothing to lose from the inner city.

This is your team. This is my team. Many of us are afraid. Many of us are worried. Many of us don’t know what comes next. The work stuff is sometimes easy, but at some point we leave work and we are people. As we’ve made changes at LACBC that have focused more on talking about race, class, justice, and inclusivity, we’ve heard cries that this organization isn’t as bikey as it used to be, as effective as it used to be, and as great as it used to be. We’ve heard that we’re putting certain people over the people who got us here. Internally, we’ve been very honest about our shortcomings and what we could be doing better. We’ve also been very honest about the undertones of racism and sexism this dialogue holds and the personal impact it’s taken on members of our team.

On Monday, we had our normal staff meeting where I told staff that I believed that the presidential election would have a result that might require people, including me, to take a personal day for self-care. I thought this might happen, because as a queer woman of color I’ve experienced a lot in my lifetime, I knew who this country was. I’ve experienced a lot in my two years on this job, I’ve endured through tough conversations, racist statements, sexist statements, and statements about how I am not fit to lead. But we’ve kept going, we’ve kept pushing. At LACBC we’re a family. Our diversity brings us together. It makes us stronger. It allows us to hug one another, love one another, do our best work, and support each other as people. We can’t thank you enough for your support this campaign season. But some of us will need a few days to process all that has happened. We’re going to keep fighting for L.A. to be a safe, fun and healthy place to bike—for everyone. We’re here for you. We work for you. But we’re people, so over the next few days if we’re a little slower to respond, if we don’t seem as excited as you think we should be, just remember, we are people with identities and lives beyond bikes. We’re just recharging, we’re just taking care of ourselves. That’s okay. Take care of yourself, too. And no matter what happens, know, we’ll keep pedaling.

Ride On,

Tamika Butler

LACBC Executive Director

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