Summit Panel on State and Local Partnerships to Advance Equity

With the California Bicycle Summit only three days away, we want to feature one more speaker—well, group of speakers—to give you a taste of the exciting discussions in store!  This week we spotlight the panel of speakers lined up for Monday morning’s breakfast plenary who are working together to bridge state, regional, and local policies, and to lift up the voices of low-income communities of color for equitable bicycling and walking solutions.

Chanell Fletcher is the Senior California Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and is a key leader in a coalition that pushes state agencies and the state legislature to increase funding for biking and walking and to implement bike-and-walk-friendly policies. Advocating for the transportation needs of children and families in low-income communities is central to Fletcher’s work.

“Equity has to be fundamental to what we do as advocates if we’re going to see real change in how our communities look,” says Fletcher. “This panel is an opportunity for all of us—at local, regional, and statewide levels, to show what can happen if equity is paramount in our work.”  Prior to joining the National Partnership, Chanell worked on sustainable land use and transportation with the statewide network ClimatePlan, and spent time at the in the USDOT Secretary’s Office analyzing the federal bill MAP-21.

Estuardo David Mazariegos is Lead Organizer for TRUST South LA, where he works with community leaders and members to develop and implement local land stewardship and mobility projects. He will share his deep insight working at the local level in low-income communities on the panel. Mazariegos, who immigrated to California in 1988, has spent most of the last decade organizing in Los Angeles with the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now (ACORN), and as a founding organizer of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

Tony Dang is Deputy Director for California Walks, and also on the CalBike Board of Directors. He is a key statewide coalition leader in advancing active transportation funding and policies, in addition to somehow splitting his time with deep engagement in local planning efforts in disadvantaged communities all over the state. In addition to Dang’s experience working in low-income communities, he holds a degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and has a strong passion for equity.

Michele Hasson is the Regional Director of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, based in the Coachella Valley. Hasson is a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, who grew up in Mexico City and has spent much of her career in global social justice and women’s rights organizations. She focuses her work in the Eastern Coachella Valley on local transportation and community development issues, which informs her input into state policy as another key statewide coalition leader.  On why equity is so important to her work, Hasson said “if we don’t understand the barriers to our most vulnerable communities in terms of active transportation, then we will never enable them to enjoy the same benefits as other communities.”

We can’t wait for this conversation, and the many others we’ll benefit from beginning on Sunday!