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 through travel demand management funds awarded by the Metropolitan Council and administered by Metro Transit.
One organization we partnered with was Tamales y Bicicletas.
Tamales y Bicicletas is a South Minneapolis based organization dedicated to strengthening their Latino and immigrant communities through bike projects, green farming, cultural empowerment, and environmental justice.
With support from the Bicycle Connectors initiative, Tamales y Bicicletas created a safe, collaborative space geared toward the needs of black, indigenous, immigrant, and specifically Spanish speaking women while introducing biking as an accessible tool for transportation, healthy living, and community building.
“We saw a great need to use biking as sustainable transportation to perform everyday duties,” said Tamales y Bicicletas Executive Director José Luis Villaseñor.
The group hosted weekly bike tours educating folks on sustainable foods through their Urban Farm. Vegetables from the farm were then used to feed participants providing indigenous food resources made by black women, indigenous women, and women of color. Tamales y Bicicletas also had a strong focus on supporting indigenous businesses and creating a safe space where folks “engaged in conversation around black, indigenous, people of color community issues,” said José Luis--all without English as a language barrier for Spanish speaking folks.
“This program changed the way folks who normally drive understood the benefit of using sustainable transportation,” said José Luis. “Lives were definitely changed by having a group of people to bike with.”
Thank you to Tamales y Bicicletas, 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].