“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In today’s times of challenge and controversy, Dr. King’s words still ring loud and true.
That’s why on the anniversary of Dr. King’s birth, we stand in solidarity with all those who seek to achieve justice in the face of violence, racism, and oppression.
We are proud to do our part to carry forward the legacy of a visionary leader who saw connections between so many struggles, and made strategic choices in his efforts to build a movement for justice.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And wherever I see injustice, I'm going to take a stand against it, whether it's in Mississippi or in Vietnam." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We take inspiration from the life of Dr. King, and in particular, his ability to clearly map the intersections of our collective struggles. His gift for articulating these connections helped Dr. King unite so many people under the banner of civil rights to win the incredible victories of that era. It is this perspective that propels us both to focus in on our mission and to speak up when other efforts need our support.
We see a strong connection between justice, transportation systems, and community planning. A recent TIME magazine article beautifully demonstrates how racial inequality shapes not only economic and political systems, but our urban landscapes and mobility.
So, on our own path to advance justice through equitable and sustainable transportation choices, we endeavor to honor Dr. King’s legacy in two main ways.
First, by listening to and lifting up the voices of our most vulnerable and historically silenced peers in our work.
We believe that transportation and land use policy should be used to promote fairness and opportunity – and we work every day to make sure all Californians can live in places with safe streets, good connections to jobs, and affordable homes.
But we understand that any work that seeks to truly benefit those in need must also involve those same people in the process. Over time, we’ve helped organizations representing low-income communities and communities of color become full partners on our issues, who are setting the agenda for how to shape transportation policy.
It is our goal to make social equity increasingly integrated into our field, as both the ends and the means. In this way, we want to see that the leaders in our movement reflect the diversity of the communities whose futures are directly tied to better transportation and community planning.
Second, by standing in solidarity with struggles to eradicate racism and other oppressions.
In the words of Dr. King once more: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
It is precisely because there are so many different angles from which to fight against injustice, that we must support one another with words and actions in solidarity.
As the nation continues to try to make sense of the Grand Jury decisions denying the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we condemn police violence against black men.
We urge BART to drop the monetary fines against the fourteen people who shut down BART in protest of police violence of black men, because there shouldn’t be fees for peaceful civil disobedience.
And we commit as an organization to continue acting as an ally in the fight against racism and for social justice, and supporting our individual team members as people who are part of these struggles.
“The time is always right to do what is right.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King left amazing footprints, and as we try to follow his path, we won’t make it very far alone. There will be bridges that are blocked, and we will need you there to keep forging ahead even when the way seems impassible.
We need not walk in lockstep. Stand up in honor of Dr. King by diving into the movement where it most urgently calls you and fuels your passion. We cannot do the work of social justice well, and we cannot sustain it for the long haul, if our convictions are not rooted firmly in our hearts.
Join us on this journey. Stick with us if you’re already along. Together, we will carry the banner of justice until we arrive at a future where all are free.