Following the recent protests in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more Black people who have been killed by police, organizers in the East Bay and across the nation are calling to defund the police and invest in community services. As bicycle advocates, Bike East Bay joins the broader call for systemic change to end the police violence that overwhelmingly impacts Black people while biking, walking, and just plain existing.
In the East Bay and across the nation, police are more likely to stop Black people while biking—and those interactions are more likely to escalate to arrest and violence. While Bike East Bay has worked for years to remove police enforcement from traffic safety policies, this strategy has had limited impact. Police violence and structural racism against Black people extends far beyond the bike lane. Bike East Bay’s vision for safe, healthy, and sustainable communities will only be realized when Black people can use streets and public spaces without fear of police violence.
As a result, we are joining the far broader call for change. Bike East Bay is connecting with, listening to, and lifting the voices of community partners working to defund the police and reinvest in the community. We must widen our view and amplify the local organizers working for safer, more accessible streets in the broadest sense.
What does defunding mean?
Community groups are advocating for a spectrum of asks when it comes to defunding the police, but all are pushing to reinvest those dollars into community services. By reinvesting in services such as mental health, violence prevention, education, and safe street systems, our communities can work toward a new type of public safety that does not involve armed police. Find a list of groups working in the East Bay below.
The time to act is now. Elected officials revisit city budgets this month and will be making significant cuts due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Bike East Bay is already advocating to protect biking, walking, and public transit funding as cities face large budget cuts. Now, we will be adding asks to cut police budgets and redirect these funds to community services, which are frequently cut first and hardest. Bike East Bay’s advocacy team will follow the lead and amplify the calls of local community partners, Black organizers, and justice reform organizations pushing for community reinvestment.
Specifically, we have already partnered with Hayward community organizers in a call to reduce city police department funding by 10% and reinvest in social services, including transportation.
Each community in the East Bay has unique needs, and the priorities put forth by Hayward organizers is just one example of what it could mean to defund the police and reinvest in the community. This is a learning moment for us, and we expect to have more information and calls to action in the coming weeks.
As we move forward, we will continue to use our voice to specifically address traffic policing, and we will align with and boost community organizations pushing for safe communities and the elimination of police violence.
The best way to get the latest calls to action is by following activist organizations on social media.
- Anti Police Terror Project: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Black Organizing Project: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Urban Peace Movement: Facebook, Instagram
- Rich City Rides: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Safe Return Project: Facebook
- Richmond Revolution: Instagram