Our hearts mourn for the unjust murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Stephon Clark, and countless other Black Americans at the hands of police. This is a pattern that must end.
At WALKSacramento, our mission is to improve quality of life and health equity through community-centered policy and systems change in land use, transportation, and community development. Our vision is that all people, regardless of race, income, or ability, live in neighborhoods that are designed for health and happiness; are sustainable and green; support thriving local economies; and promote civic engagement.
We cannot live our truth without acknowledging the impact that racist decisions in land use and transportation – intentional or systemic – continue to have on the quality of life in communities of color. Racism is a public health crisis that has been derived from decades of underinvestment and redlining practices. While redlining is now illegal, it still continues in a modern-day form known as “purple-lining” whereby certain communities and people are considered expendable and excluded from planning processes that ultimately affect their health and wellbeing.
We recognize that the ability to walk and bike to school, parks, jobs, and other everyday destinations is not just about sidewalks and bike lanes, but is most importantly about personal safety. And it is clear that our streets are not safe as long as police brutality, xenophobia, and other manifestations of hatred and racism persist.
We also want to be transparent in that we are currently a majority white staff and board. We have much more active learning and work to do to ensure that we do not perpetuate the racist systems that continue to fail, harm, and kill Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and we are committed to being allies to the Black Lives Matter movement and BIPOC individuals and organizations in this work.
Racial equity has always been a core value at WALKSacramento. However, we want to be even more clear that when we talk about racial equity, we mean that:
- Black lives matter, and our systems and communities must reflect this.
- Skin color should not determine where you live, the quality of education and jobs, or other social and physical factors that ultimately impact health.
- Race-based injustices in the transportation and planning field must be recognized and amended.
Here are the ways that we commit ourselves to anti-racism:
- Continue to expand our networks and diversify our staff and board.
- Actively seek out, listen to, and center BIPOC and other marginalized voices and lived experiences in our work, especially being sensitive to the intersection of race with gender, sexuality, and other aspects of identity.
- Support and uphold planning processes that are community-led and context-sensitive, ensuring that the residents who will be most impacted have an active role in the process.
- Advocate for greater investment in community programs that improve quality of life and meet real community needs, rather than strategies resulting in over-policing and enforcement that disproportionately targets BIPOC.
- Advocate for racial equity to be centered in all health and built environment policies, and ensure that policies include specific and measurable actions to achieve equitable outcomes.
- Advocate for a race equity lens to be applied in all project and funding decisions, and ensure that investment does not lead to displacement.
- Hold ourselves accountable to these commitments and continue to learn more and do better.
The events that have unfolded over the last few weeks reinforce that our work is far from done or perfect. As an organization composed of advocates, planners, and most importantly community members, we have an obligation and moral responsibility to confront systemic racism. We stand with Black Lives Matter and hold zero tolerance for racism of any kind. We are committed to working every day and in everything that we do to uplift and center the voices of our most vulnerable communities, and especially our Black community, at the heart of all built environment planning, public health, and policy decisions in the Sacramento Region.
The WALKSacramento Staff and Board of Directors
Black Lives Matter Resources and Ways You Can Help
Black Space Manifesto
‘Safe Steets’ Are Not Safe for Black Lives – CityLab
Op-Ed: Let People March in the Streets – Streetsblog
Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein
How to be an Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Systematic Racism Explained
Walking and Walkability in the Time of COVID-19: New Policies and Practices – America Walks
Code Switch Podcast – NPR
Seeing White series – Scene on Radio
The Land That Never Has Been Yet – Scene on Radio
Tamika Butler’s Blog