Two years ago, I co-wrote a blog post entitled “Why planners should be talking about Ferguson” with Carey Knecht and Richard Raya. Since then we have seen little change. Unarmed black men, women, and children continue to be murdered by police officers. And it’s already been a month since a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
I’ve struggled with my own response – as a black woman, I feel a myriad of emotions. Anger, pain, hurt, fear – those are the most clear. And exhaustion. How many times can I change my Facebook picture in solidarity? How many times can I post, tweet, or snap my frustration?
Beyond my own internal struggle, I think about my work – and my partnership with all of you – to create sustainable, equitable communities. I spend my days pushing for higher state targets to reduce climate change impacts, and working to shift transportation dollars away from highways and toward public transit and safe streets. And as I do it, I’m thinking, “How does this protect the most vulnerable people – the men, women, and children of color killed by those who should be protecting them? How does this protect the victims at a nightclub who were targeted because of their sexuality?”
As I write this blog post, I realize I don’t have the answers. I don’t have a specific campaign that ClimatePlan is working on to point to and say, “Here, this is what will finally protect our most vulnerable people!”
But what I do have is my voice. And as I see ClimatePlan partners issue statements of solidarity and support for #BlackLivesMatters, I realize I am in a movement with all of you to create communities that protect all lives – and ensure everyone has the right to walk and bicycle without fear, to ride transit without being profiled, to live in a space where they can thrive. This is why I come to work every day, hopeful that we can go beyond changing the current structures to building new ones that work for us.
So this blog post, it turns out, is a thank you to all the partners of ClimatePlan. You inspire me and give me hope that a change is going to come.