A look back at Take Back the Streets – and what’s next
By Melinda Musser, Communications & Marketing Manager
“I was overwhelmed by the amount of people that showed up to ride and the support we got from the community as we rode through.” – Jason Washington, Take Back the Streets organizer
As we reflect back on the Take Back the Streets bike ride and event in North Portland, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude to everyone who made this event possible.
Thank you to our friends DeMarcus Preston and Jason Washington who approached us in July about doing something positive with bikes in response to recent violence in Portland. What began as an idea for a bike ride quickly turned into a powerful Take Back the Streets movement.
Over the course of the month, we heard from many people on what Take Back the Streets means to them.
“This is important to me because every time I read the news, or go on social media, someone else that I know has lost their life. It hurts and it’s getting worse.”
“I joined this event because Blacks have to stop the violence, heal our suffering and pain, and develop love among our people. Our people have to learn their history, which will connect them to their ancestors who guide us. When we connect with our ancestors, we will begin to love each other. When we develop this love we will feel the pain of Black people wherever they are and we will respond to their pain as One.”
“This is important to me because I see so many youth and so many people die and get hurt over pointless gang related conflicts. I want to show my support to taking the streets back from gangs.”
“I love this neighborhood! My church is here and my friends and family, I want to support the community and promote health and wellness. I love seeing brown people on bikes!”
“Destruction of a city comes in all forms. If I knew that our children today would grow up causing the same damage and pain to other families of my city, I would’ve tried taking back our streets in the early years, when I attended my first funeral for a friend and brother I LOVE dearly…Tory Carter.”
To the 150+ people who joined us throughout the day on their bikes and at Columbia Park, we thank you for your presence and your collective voices. We couldn’t have done this event without the help of our generous volunteers and 18 nonprofit organizations that showed up to offer their services for our community.
“It was tremendous to witness and support the facilitation of a large group of people coming together to engage in healthy activities and have solution-oriented conversations,” notes Zoe, our Director of Programming. “I am excited to lead the movement of the Community Cycling Center to further engage with community members on organizing while using the bicycle as the tool. My plan is to build on this momentum and continue rolling.”
Many people are asking, “So, what’s next?”
We’re planning a couple of follow-up community conversations, sparked by the Take Back the Streets movement. The first event will take place on September 25th in New Columbia. The Community Cycling Center and SCAFE will lead a follow-up discussion on examining and rewriting policies that prevent people that were incarcerated from mentoring youth. In particular, we invite people who are experienced or interested in community organizing and writing legal frameworks. Email [email protected] if you are interested in attending this event.
And now, we take a look back at Take Back the Streets. Thank you to Intisar Abioto of TheBlackPortlanders.com for the beautiful photos below. For more photos taken by Intisar and others, please see our Take Back the Streets photo album on Flickr.com.
Top photo by Melinda Musser
All other photos by Intisar Abioto