Sights and sounds from #TranspoEquity17

At the end of April, advocates from aross California came to Sacramento for our annual Transportation Equity Summit and Advocacy Day, co-hosted by TransForm and the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike). The event was a big success, and we are excited to share some sights, sounds, and ideas from both days.

The flurry of activity around transportation in Sacramento in April was nothing short of dizzying. After a big push early in the month to pass a massive $5 billion per year transportation spending package, the Legislature scheduled a hearing on bills in the Transportation Equity Bill Package on the same day as the Summit! All this activity made for a very lively and timely summit, which undoubtedly helped fill the committee hearing with transportation equity advocates. Many attendees ended up bouncing back and forth between events and the Capitol, and it paid off — all the bills we were focused on (AB 17, AB 179, and SB 150) made it out of committee!

On Advocacy Day, delegations from across the state met with their legislators and stressed the importance of supporting transportation equity legislation. Quite a few members of these delegations were new to Sacramento advocacy, and we’re hoping they will stay involved and continue pushing elected officials on these issues.

And it’s not too late for you to get on that train — take a moment to urge your legislators to support the Transportation Equity Bill Package now (and then come back and finish reading this post!)

Rather than narrate a long recap, we're letting photographs, social media posts, and audio interviews tell the story. We conducted audio interviews with summit attendees, which you can listen to here:

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes was just elected in November 2016, and she jumped right in with an important bill, AB 179, to ensure that communities that suffer disproportionately from pollution are represented on the California Transportation Commission.

Senator Connie Leyva has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to environmental and transportation justice, providing strong leadership on issues that impact low-income communities of color in the Inland Empire and throughout California. She was one of just a few legislators who took strong exception to the “dirty trucking” loophole in SB 1.

Mariela Magaña, a policy advocate at the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, won the Transportation Equity Advocate award for her work to organize and build power with residents of the East Coachella Valley.

Funding Transportation Through Local Ballot Measures: Lessons from communities about what works, what doesn’t work, and how to move forward with one.

Clockwise from top left: Micah Mitrosky (IBEW in San Diego), Tamie Dramer (Organize Sacramento), Gloria Ohland (Move LA), Moderator Jessica Meaney (Investing in Place), Michael Turner (LA Metro), audience members

This panel told the stories of three very different transportation funding campaigns from across the state and highlighted important questions and considerations for advocates. A coalition of equity advocates helped defeat Measure A in San Diego. In Sacramento, advocates supported Measure B despite flaws in the process, but the measure failed by a narrow margin. And LA’s Measure M was a big success story, with a more participatory and inclusive process that led to a landslide victory.

Statewide Advocates and Grassroots Partnership: how to ensure a two-way street of benefit and participation

Clockwise from top left: Grecia Elenes (Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability), Karen Borja (Inland Congregations United for Change), Carey Knecht (Climate Plan), Moderator Jared Sanchez (CalBike), Alia Phelps (ACCE)

This panel got to the heart of one of the most important questions in our movement — how to build authentic and trusting partnerships among different organizations. Local organizers in frontline communities candidly shared their experiences, both positive and negative, in working with statewide policy advocates. ClimatePlan, a statewide coalition of dozens of climate and environmental organizations, shared insights on how to listen to grassroots partners, offer appropriate resources, and avoid tokenizing or exploiting them.

Advocacy Day

Advocates split up into regional delegations and spent a whole day visiting legislators from their areas.

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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.