We, the undersigned employees of TransForm, stand together in solidarity with Occupy Oakland and the national Occupy Wall Street movement. Why?
Because the Occupy Movement in Oakland and across the country represents deep frustration and anger over increasing inequality; and
Because as advocates for world-class transit and walkable communities, we deeply value social justice as a fundamental priority guiding our work; and
Because we see this inequality in the crumbling infrastructure in our neighborhoods, cuts to our public transportation, and widespread difficulty finding affordable homes; and
Because we need good jobs, quality education, accessible health care, clean air, and affordable homes in great communities linked by world-class public transportation and safe places to walk and bike; and
Because as advocates, we have seen first-hand the ways industry groups and corporations can disproportionately sway public decision-making to benefit their bottom line to the detriment of the 99%; and
Because we recognize the long-intertwined history of transportation and social and economic justice, from the buy-out of streetcar trolleys by the auto, oil and tire industries in the mid 20th century, to the Montgomery, AL bus boycotts that advanced the civil rights movement, to the “white flight” and racial and class segregation enabled by the National Highway System, to the preferential underwriting of car-dependent housing by financial institutions; and
Because our current transportation system requires our lowest-income households to spend twice as much on transportation as the highest-income households, as a percentage of income; and
Because people who walk represent nearly 12% of traffic fatalities while less than 1% of federal transportation funding is allocated to creating safe places to walk; and
Because the social and health impacts of our transportation system, including air pollution, climate change, unsafe neighborhoods, and disconnected communities, are disproportionately borne by low income people and people of color; and
Because on October 28, 50 Occupy San Diego protesters were arrested and their belongings confiscated illegally just hours before a planned demonstration against the adoption of a regional transportation plan that prioritizes highway projects over public transit during the next decade; and
Because we reject the criminalization of walking such as recent arrests in San Francisco for “suspicion of being a pedestrian in a roadway” and the trial and conviction of Georgia mother Raquel Nelson after a hit-and-run driver killed her child as they crossed a street that lacked sufficient crosswalks; and
Because we treasure our inalienable rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and have witnessed the peaceful movement of Occupy Oakland from our offices across the street;
Because we welcome the use of our public spaces to support civic participation with the goal of having our cities and our society better meet the needs of all people, beginning with those who are the most disadvantaged, such as the homeless; and
Because we applaud the efforts of Occupy Oakland to make decisions via a highly inclusive consensus-based process, translate General Assembly meetings into multiple languages, and take other steps toward the kind of broad participatory decision-making for which we have long advocated in public policy agencies.
For these reasons, we stand in solidarity as part of the 99% to ensure a powerful and non-violent movement for economic justice is heard, and to support the transformation of society that is required to answer the call.
Ana Lua Fontes
John Knox White