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Letter from Executive Director René Rivera

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: June 9, 2017

After a two-month sabbatical this spring, I find myself returning to lead Bike East Bay in a time of great change. Nationally, our government is abandoning efforts to reduce carbon emissions and walking away from investing in sustainable transportation. Yet, in the East Bay, I see a growing resolve to protect and build the world we want to see come to be.

Bike East Bay has made incredible progress in convincing our local leadership to get behind biking. Now, we need to make sure future transportation investments heal — rather than hasten — the racial and economic divides in the East Bay.

We know displacement and income inequality are transportation problems. As the Bay Area housing crisis continues, low-income residents, immigrants, and people of color are being displaced into outlying suburbs and even the Central Valley. Residents in these car-centric communities endure punishing commutes to far off job-centers. It can be impossible to bike and walk anywhere, let alone for transportation. We need to advocate for equitable investments in biking, walking, and public transit in Black and brown communities. We need to make sure income and ability are not barriers to accessing public amenities like bike share.

Personally, I am embracing this time of change and returning as a leader ready to put my full and authentic self into this work. Being queer, transgender, and from a mixed race family has always been an important part of who I am. After returning from my sabbatical, I am taking the step in my life of transitioning to live in the world as male. I am now asking everyone in my life to use masculine (he/him) pronouns and the masculine spelling of my name, René.  

One of our strengths as an organization lies in our commitment to strength in diversity. By living my most authentic self as the leader of our organization, I hope to lead us in truly embodying Bike East Bay’s values for equity and inclusion.  

Ride on,

Executive Director

Bike East Bay

René Rivera

 

 

 

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