In 2018 Our Streets Minneapolis launched the Bicycle Connectors program, a new initiative to encourage more black women, indigenous women, and women of color to bike for transportation. Cindy Vue, our Bicycle Encouragement and Volunteer Coordinator, partnered with six local organizations serving black women, indigenous women, and women of color in Minneapolis.
Each organization received support from Our Streets Minneapolis to create their own unique program to encourage more of the women they serve to bike for transportation. Funding for the Bicycle Connectors program is provided in part through travel demand management funds awarded by the Metropolitan Council and administered by Metro Transit.
One organization we partnered with was B.R.A.V.E. (Brilliant Resilient Ambitious Vibrant Elite) Foundation Inc.
B.R.A.V.E. Foundation serves young Somali women in the Twin Cities metro to provide access to education, health, employment, and empowerment. For their Bicycle Connectors initiative, B.R.A.V.E. created a program that is culturally and religiously sensitive to East African Muslim women in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
“The women that lead our organization are also the same background as the members. And due to cultural barriers, we always viewed biking as something that was outside our cultural norm,” said Lul Osman, Founder and Executive Director of B.R.A.V.E. Foundation. “Our partnership changed that, we were able to receive training, then train others and also have access to bikes that were culturally appropriate for our cultural wear.”
B.R.A.V.E. Foundation centered their program around access to bikes and equipment, building skills, and helping change cultural perceptions of East African women biking. In addition to Our Streets Minneapolis, B.R.A.V.E. Foundation partnered with Nice Ride Minnesota, the Minneapolis Health Department, People’s Center Clinic and Services, and The Wellness Hub to provide a robust program centered on the interests and needs of their community.
Thank you to B.R.A.V.E. Foundation, and all of the partners and riders who were part of Bicycle Connectors 2018! Are you interested in partnering with Our Streets Minneapolis in the second year of the Bicycle Connectors initiative? Contact Cindy at [email protected].