Over the past few weeks, people across the country and the globe have taken to the streets in protest of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, and to demand that our communities, states, and nation confront our deeply racist history and present-day reality. Since our inception, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) has sought to be a vocal leader, advocating for our communities to be better places for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, language, and class to bike, walk, and roll. Ultimately, though, we recognize that BikeMN has perpetuated systemic racism by not actively and intentionally speaking out against it, or taking stronger action to create equitable systemic reform. We empathize with and see the heartbreak and pain as decades of injustice, discrimination, violence, and racism felt by people of color has, again, come to a boiling point. It should not take a tragic act of violence like this for an organization to look inward and seriously reflect on our values and priorities in our work to be equitable. We reaffirm our commitment to being an anti-racist non-profit organization and establish several measures to refocus and reframe our efforts, goals, and work. We pledge to prioritize Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) voices to deliver just and equitable outcomes throughout the work of BikeMN.
We recognize that we need to do more as a statewide organization to prioritize equity in our work and combat racism as we further our mission. We know that our words, our promises, are only meaningful if they are followed by an intentional, conscious and lasting response. We are currently reevaluating our policies, programs, and stated commitments through a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion; and are working on creating specific actions within BikeMN’s capacity to do to fight racism and will share them in the coming weeks. Our staff and Board are committed to self-educating, listening, and learning from the BIPOC community. We are committed to doing the uncomfortable and necessary work to dismantle the ways in which we inadvertently perpetuate white privilege. We also hope to establish an open line of communication, prioritizing BIPOC voices to inform our work. We recognize our shortcomings and that we will make mistakes; we encourage accountability and welcome dialogue with organizations and advocates across Minnesota. To that end, our inbox, firstname.lastname@example.org, is always open.
This will not be a one-time commitment that ends once the hashtags do. We have worked to incorporate equity in all that we do, but it has not been enough, and we know we have to do more. It will be an ongoing conversation internally and externally with BIPOC voices, our board, outside organizations, supporters, and staff to create meaningful, long-term change both within BikeMN and within the communities we serve. It is past time for BikeMN to take these steps, because the simple truth is Black lives matter, today, and every day.