Watch Tamika Butler’s Vision Zero Cities Keynote

L.A. County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director put the question to advocates: "Can Vision Zero work in a racist society?"

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Last week at Transportation Alternatives’ Vision Zero Cities conference, LA County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler delivered a strong message to attendees from around the country: Vision Zero does not exist in a bubble, separate from America’s history and ongoing repression of people of color — and advocates cannot leave the work of addressing that solely to the people of color in their ranks.

In her speech, which you can watch in full below, Butler recounts the story of Joe Bray-Ali, a prominent L.A. bike advocate whose City Council campaign was upended earlier this month by the discovery of racist and transphobic comments he’d posted online. Two years ago, Bray-Ali publicly attacked Butler and others for raising concerns about LAPD’s role in Vision Zero enforcement.

“You have to think about the other things that are going on in our communities,” Butler said. “If there are only folks of color doing the work to make this industry better, it won’t get better.”

Here is her talk in full:

You can read Butler’s contribution to TransAlt’s Vision Zero Cities journal, which touches on the same themes, here.

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Rosanne Ferruggia of Chicago DOT and Sam Sinyangwe of Campaign Zero at yesterday's Vision Zero Cities panel. Photo: David Meyer

Addressing Racism and Police Brutality in Traffic Enforcement

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Police brutality and racial inequities in criminal justice must be addressed by advocates and agencies aiming to reduce traffic fatalities. That's the key takeaway from a Vision Zero Cities panel yesterday on police violence and traffic enforcement. "Vision Zero cannot be a reason to overly-police black and brown bodies," said Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler. "You can’t ignore the country we live in."