Sahra is Communities Editor for Streetsblog L.A., covering the intersection of mobility with race, class, history, representation, policing, housing, health, culture, community, and access to the public space in Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles.
She had had enough of hearing her community spoken about in offensive ways by well- (and not-so-well-) meaning planners and advocates, enough of giving 110 percent of herself only to realize a fraction of what she put forward was being seen as having value, enough of how disinterested those with power over what happened in marginalized communities remained in the larger picture, and enough of being tokenized.
What a hideous and untenable thing, we collectively agreed in pausing our trajectories to render assistance, to see this poor woman so fragile and afraid in the street like this. Yet data suggests we generally don't appreciate how vulnerable others are or how much power we have to hurt each other until it's too late - and pedestrians and cyclists tend to pay the steepest price for that.
In many historically marginalized urban neighborhoods, decades of disenfranchisement and the repressive policing that accompanied it created great insecurity in the public space and, over time, eroded bonds of social trust between neighbors. With the public space essentially rendered off limits for too many, community had to be nurtured in private spaces.
“Where do things stand now?” I asked Adonia Lugo as we organized potential discussion themes ahead of this Sunday’s Untokening event. Election results were just starting to roll in from the East Coast, she replied, and they weren’t looking good for Hillary. Perhaps we should relabel the event ‘The UnTrumpening,’ I mused. We were already […]
The Token One He was so glad I had “talked about people of color committing violence against other people of color,” he gushed, shaking my hand. My eyebrows shot up. The focus of my talk at last October’s CalBike’s annual summit had been the extent to which the socio-economic and cultural landscapes of a community […]
Last week, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University published a story declaring that “Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters.” If you spend any time in the streets and/or pay attention to cycling issues, this is something you probably already knew. At least, intuitively. It’s been a little harder to substantiate that […]
What was I writing about, a woman wanted to know. She had heard me explain to a gentleman passenger on the bus that, just because I had a camera with me, I was not also a model. Nor was I a stripper. I was a journalist. That news seemed to have disappointed him. He had […]