Commitment to Anti-Racism

Cascade's Commitment to Anti-Racism

Cascade is deeply invested in our vision of a safe and healthy future where bicycles unite people, eliminate inequity, and create thriving communities. To realize that goal, we have work to do in Washington state and nationwide to make bicycling accessible and safe for everyone, regardless of their skin color. Cascade and our sister organization, Washington Bikes, stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and oppose police brutality. Dismantling white supremacy in our work and in our community must be at the forefront of everything we do. Our organization has committed to PDF icon a Racial Equity Plan, approved by the Board of Directors in April of 2020, that reaffirms our commitment to eliminating racial inequities in our culture, policies, and practices. We are dedicated to working with our community and partners to overcome the vast  impacts of systemic racism within our organization and in bicycling more broadly. Much work remains. 

This page is a document to share our work as we continue to grow and learn on this racial equity journey. Please refer to this glossary of terms used or the online guide from Racial Equity Tools when leaning in and learning about race and racism.

Why Anti-Racism in Bicycling Matters

At Cascade, we work daily toward a mission of bringing people together to experience the joy of bicycling, collaborating to advocate for a  safe and equitable Washington, and building confidence and community by teaching bike skills to all. But we must also confront the reality that our streets are not truly safe for everyone and we have not done enough to equitably protect the lives of Black and Brown people on our streets, bicycling or otherwise. As former Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler said, “Bicycling cannot solve systemic racism in the United States. But systemic racism can’t be fixed without tackling it within bicycling.” As our racial equity plan makes clear, Cascade is committed to transforming from being a bicycling club working to diversify itself to one that, through bicycling, works to eliminate inequities in community health outcomes and in mobility and transportation access. 

In other words, we believe deep systems changes are needed to make our streets safe for everyone, and that undoing racist harms must happen in every aspect of our work. e We know from the data and from our community’s stories that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience bicycling differently. We believe we must actively fight systems of oppression and inequality if we hope to meaningfully contribute to the movement for Black lives. To do anything less would perpetuate these same systems and further harm Black and Brown people, on and off the bike.

How Can I Help?

There are many ways Cascade members, volunteers, partners, and supporters can advance racial equity, both within bicycling and in their communities. 

  • Follow Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders who have organized, researched, and worked on these issues for a long time. We made a list of folks we recommend here. 
  • Read more about how to be a good ally. Make sure newcomers on Free Group Rides or in other Cascade spaces feel welcome and part of the group. Believe people when they say they experienced racism while biking. 
  • If you are white, don’t expect Black or Brown people to educate you or to give you a pat on the back for your progress. Examine your internal biases and explore what being anti-racist means. 
  • Research local Black-led organizations and sign on to support them, donate to them, or engage with them. Here are a few we recommend.
  • Support Cascade's Major Taylor Project and help build leadership skills and bike knowledge in youth from underserved communities. 
  • If you attend a panel on bicycling, a bicycling event, or another space, lift up the voices of people of color in the room, or call out the fact that they are missing if none are present. 
  • Keep learning. Read the Bicycling magazine issue with 14 stories from Black people who love bikes. Also, the Seattle Public Library put together a powerful toolkit for anti-racism allies. Check it out here.
  • If you see harassment on a ride or at an event, here are some resources for de-escalation tactics:
    • KUOW - Seattle Now: How to be an active bystander (audio only) with Abdul Omar, Assistant Ombud with City of Seattle: (starts at about 1:00) [Covers fight/flight/freeze; bystander effect; 4 courses of action -- Direct, Delay, Distract, Delegate; Document. Align self with the target. Don’t be a superhero, just be a human being.]

    • NW Asian Weekly - Bystander intervention and how to combat harassment [Covers the 5 D’s: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct]


Originally posted: 11/25/20
Updated on: 5/9/23

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