Each season, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) brings on a Bilingual Community Liaison to support the work of the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) in Philadelphia. This person works to engage bilingual/non-English speaking communities within the Indego bike share service area. For this blog, Bilingual Community Liaison, Andrea wanted to share some thoughts and reflections before signing off. Here’s what she had to say!
“My time working with the BBSP team to coordinate and organize the educational and outreach programming for the Spanish-speaking community has changed my life.
Through my work this season, I gained a platform in which I was able to speak in my native language (Spanish) while representing my community on one of the most politically polarizing issues the city is experiencing: transportation inequality. I was able to use my voice and our language as a tool for community empowerment, which made me a more wholesome and conscientious community member in addition to being a more skilled cyclist!
Meeting fellow community members and listening to their experiences and concerns taught me the importance of representation in all areas of life, whether it be riding for health, recreation, or transportation. I believe that bringing more awareness of safe cycling to immigrant communities can be an empowering tool to bring more transparency to the challenges they face.
I take pride in the diverse communities we have in Philadelphia and hope to address their need for affordable, reliable and safe transit options in the city. The Better Bike Share Partnership has done a great job in reaching these communities by hiring bilingual staff and connecting them to anchor institutions to host bilingual programming. All in all, I couldn’t be more proud of being part of an organization like the Better Bike Share Partnership.
As the outreach season closes for 2019, and my role comes to an end, it was important for me to stay involved in cycling and community engagement. I am thrilled to announce that I was selected to join Bike & Build’s southern U.S route that will take me on a trip across the country from Florida to California this coming summer and immediately after I graduate with my masters degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania where my area of concentration is Affordable Housing.
Bike & Build is a Philly-based organization that raises awareness for affordable housing and organizes a trip across the country in which participants fundraise and volunteer with local organizations to help them with their affordable housing needs.
As I prepare for the trip taking off in May 2020, I will be in Philly finishing up school and will be doing an internship with an affordable housing finance organization. Beyond graduation and the Bike & Build trip, I look forward to continuing to uphold the need for housing policy reform and holistic community development programs, such as bike share, to increase access to health, economic, and transportation opportunities for all.
Thank you BBSP for a great season!”
If you are interested in working directly with communities as an advocate for cycling, keep an eye on the Bicycle Coalition’s website for different employment opportunities!
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is a nonprofit advocacy and education organization working as part of the Better Bike Share Partnership to support bike share and biking education. The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation.