YPT Boston | Board Statement on Institutional Racism and Police Violence

In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders and the many murders and injustices before them, every member of our board is deeply reflecting on the part we play as an organization and our individual roles in advancing racial justice and equity—in our programming, our respective workplaces, and in our projects that serve the public. We are focusing on how we can better support Black, Brown, and Indigenous Communities; examine our implicit biases; and act.

The recurring violence against Black people is the result of systemic racism that has been perpetuated in the U.S. for hundreds of years. Highways that demolish Black communities and exclusionary zoning that blocks access to good schools and amenities are just two ways that transportation and land-use planning have reinforced this systemic racism. Transportation is inextricably linked to policing, from traffic stops to fare evasion, and more; it is our responsibility to consider the ways in which our actions put black and brown people at risk of police violence. Government agencies and our political processes have not yet redressed these failings. As transportation professionals, we must acknowledge these wrongs.

In our professional lives, we must confront systemic racism in all respects: workplace discrimination, hiring practices, and the practices and outcomes of our work itself. Our work is not apolitical. Through our impacts on the built environment and on people, we are agents of social change.

Through our impacts on the built environment and on people, we are agents of social change.

Through our practices and the material outcomes of our work, we can empower or disempower communities; we can prioritize problems experienced by the advantaged or the disadvantaged; we can develop technocratic solutions or socially collaborative solutions. As young professionals, we are still learning where on these spectrums our own practice exists and how we can shift toward more equitable practice.

To that end, we commit to a process of learning, listening, and growing. We invite you to join us. We added a focus on equity in our programming last fall, but we still must:

Create a more inclusive space for transportation practitioners of all races and backgrounds,

Recruit more diverse speakers, and

Offer more programming that addresses the critical intersections of equity and planning.

Through our partnership with Powerful Pathways, we are developing a series of workshops on equity in transportation, planning, and engineering. We look forward to sharing details with you in the months to come.

Below are the articles, books, or videos that we’re taking in or revisiting to better understand the many facets of this moment:

Michael Clark — Chapter Chair

How municipalities in St. Louis County, MO profit from poverty

Washington Post

Casey-Marie Claude — Chapter Vice Chair

Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance

Book by Adonia E. Lugo, PhD | Borrow on Hoopla through Boston Public Library

Jack Halverson — Administration Chair

13th

Netflix documentary

Allentza Michel — At-Large Chair

It’s White People Who Are Responsible for What Happens Next

Time

Marc Ebuna — Communications Chair

‘Safe Streets’ Are Not Safe for Black Lives

CityLab article

Liz Flanagan — Finance Chair

Freedom is a Constant Struggle

Book by Angela Y. Davis | Borrow digitally through Boston Public Library

Kyle Schroeckenthaler — Membership Chair

Why are Blacks dying at higher rates from COVID-19?

Brookings Institution

Margaret Kent — Programs Chair

The End of Policing

Book by Alex S. Vitale | eBook is currently free from Verso

Doug Johnson — Sponsorship Chair

How to be An Antiracist

Book by Ibram X. Kendi | Borrow digitally through Boston Public Library

Here are some messages from other transportation organizations that share additional resources, insights, and inspiration:

Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS)

includes a list of reading materials by Black planners and other planners of color

NACTO

TransitMatters

Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)

This is a difficult and stressful time, so please don’t forget to engage in self-care. While we should lean into discomfort on these issues as an opportunity to grow, remember to keep that in balance with a need to unplug and rest.

Continue taking time to connect with friends and family. Listen and reflect, but above all, be respectful of the stress that others may carry around these issues and be mindful of your own stress.

We don’t have all the answers but we’re listening.
We want to hear from you.

Please email us at yptboston@gmail.com with questions, comments, and suggestions. Tag us on Twitter and/or share on our Facebook page with articles, YouTube videos, or any other media you think would be meaningful to share with other members.