Bike Equity Leader: Miguel Ramos
This week, we’re focusing on bike equity as part of National Bike Month, and we’ll be showcasing the work of bike equity leaders across the country. Today, we hear from Miguel Ramos in Los Angeles.
I have been a volunteer at Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) for over 3 years. MCM advocates for safe alternative transportation access in underserved communities of color within greater Los Angeles. My contributions to the organization include numerous projects that involve community organizing, education and social action.
As a lead organizer with MCM, I helped produce a Spanish language public service announcement for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). The messaging was sparked through day laborer concerns of safety and motorist and cyclist education. This message reached Spanish speaking communities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The public service announcement debuted early 2010, and was the first of its kind nation wide. You can view it here.
My work with MCM led to me collaborating with Los Angeles Community Advocating for Unity and Social Action (LA CAUSA) to create and facilitate a bicycle focused community-learning program. This program educated students through various workshops based around the themes of bicycle mechanics, bicycle safety, community organizing, media and urban planning. In essence, these workshops encouraged youth to promote bicycle advocacy as a tool to address environmental and social justice issues in their communities.
MCM also has a history of working with the local transit authority, Metro. In the summer of 2013, I became MCM’s Bicycle Outreach Coordinator as part of Metro’s efforts to provide bicycle safety education throughout Los Angeles County. I coordinated with diverse community groups and organizations to offer Spanish language bicycle safety workshops, where I along with other instructors facilitated workshops that would focus on the rules of the road, safe riding habits and cyclist rights.
I am also a member of the Raices-Roots, a collective of cyclists that bike toured from Los Angeles to Guatemala City during the final months of 2012. Our collective is represented by people of color who are connected to the land and people of Latin America. Our priorities on this trip were to use our bicycles and other forms of transportation that would allow us to build relationships with communities and collectives working towards self-sustainability, permaculture and bike technology projects.. Thus, we pedaled in solidarity with the land, our ancestors, our communities, our families, and ourselves to better contribute to the creation of healthy and dignified communities and families within our own sites of struggle and wherever we ride.
Currently I am organizing and planning for the LA Rooted Summer Youth Program, a day camp where youth will use alternative forms of transportation to visit mobile pop-up classes throughout Los Angeles. We hope to foster future community leaders by educating and empowering our youth through mobile field trips where they can learn about nutrition and cooking, native plant care, cycling, kayaking, theater, composting, gardening, camping, cultural ceremonies, art, healthy bodies, mind and soul.
As a person of color, I acknowledge the complexities that people who are marginalized experience because I too live with these experiences every day. I see the cultural diversity that exists within the bicycle movement and comprehend that all groups have different needs when it comes to education and empowerment. We must work together to see that we keep all diverse groups into consideration, so we can all continue moving forward in taking ownership of these safe, healthy, clean and bicycle-oriented linkages.
Learn more about the League’s Equity Initiative at www.bikeleague.org/equity.