Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion enables the League to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision. In order to meet the promise of a nation where bicycling is safe, comfortable, and open to all we must address disparities, build a more diverse movement that truly represents our communities, and speak with one voice for a bicycle-friendly America for Everyone.
The goal of the League of American Bicyclists is to make bicycling safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities in all communities, and we recognize that youth, women and people of color are underrepresented in many bike advocacy efforts and local transportation decisions.
Equity issues have been a source of discussion in the bicycle movement for many years. However, there has been a lack of dedicated staff capacity, direct knowledge, and partnership with local leaders of color to engage in a sustained, strategic dialogue about these issues. Currently there are few resources to address disparities on the ground and equity as it relates specifically to bicycle advocacy.
The League's Equity Initiative was started in 2013 to innovate solutions to this problem by working directly with diverse leaders to change the culture and programming of the League itself, which has contributed and will continue to transform bicycling advocacy at the local and national levels.
Through its Equity Initiative, the League has engaged leaders from traditionally underrepresented demographics and bridges the current gap between diverse communities and bicycle advocates. By adding staff capacity, undertaking an internal equity assessment and transformation process, and partnering with equity advocates in strategic and sustained relationships, the League leveraged its position as the longest-standing and most-trusted source of bicycle advocacy resources to develop diverse leadership and cultivate effective local partnerships to advance inclusion and, ultimately, equity in the bike movement.
In 2013, the League hired an Equity and Outreach Fellow, Hamzat Sani, whose experience organizing in underserved communities and bridging the gap between advocates of color and traditional bicycle organizations helped guide this effort in its first six months. The League established an Equity Advisory Council and brought together the members of the Council to meet in person at National Bike Summits. In late 2013, Dr. Adonia Lugo became the League's first Equity Initiative Manager thanks to generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Through the initiative, the League conducted an internal EDI review, produced several reports, compiled much needed resources, and began work to integrate EDI into its programs from certifying a more diverse group of League Cycling Instructors to reach underserved communities to expanding the traditional Five E’s of the Bicycle Friendly Community program to include the Sixth E - EDI. In addition, the League Board of Directors adopted equity as one of our top priorities, and our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion resonates through our mission and vision which were updated and informed by the Equity Initiative in 2014. We continue to move forward to achieve this mission and vision by operationalizing our strategic plan and pedaling towards better bicycling for all.
What are Equity, Diversity & Inclusion?
Using a glossary from the UC Berkeley Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Initative as a starting point, our Equity Advisory Council defined equity, diversity, and inclusion as informed by their work as bike advocates.
Equity - Just and fair inclusion into a society in which everyone can participate and prosper. The goals of equity must be to create conditions that allow all to reach their full potential, erasing disparities in race, income, ability, geography, age, gender and sexual orientation.
Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
Diversity - The acceptance of members from different types of self identified groups into an organization or unit. Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term "diversity" is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
Inclusion - The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.
Inclusion integrates the fact of diversity and embeds it into the core mission and institutional functioning of an organization. It is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in communities with which individuals might connect — in ways that increase one's awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
Read more about EDI work on the League blog