Social justice by bike
By Gina Binole
Gina Binole has nearly 20 years in the communications business, first as a government, environmental and business journalist and now as a PR strategist.
Riding a bike is a privilege. Really.
For many of us, it’s almost inconceivable that people say that. Think that. Even argue about that. But it’s true. Not all kids get bikes at Christmas, or on Hanukah, or for their birthdays. In fact, some never experience that middle-class-American-right-of-passage of their first bike. Ever.
It’s this continued disconnect of class and race that has Portland bike enthusiasts a bit baffled by the city’s decision to stop the installation of a protected bike lane on North Williams to allow time for more African Americans to participate in the process. More talk. Better participation. Enlightened discourse. I believe that’s all good. Communications is, after all, what I do. And wholeheartedly believe it is a best practice for people, organizations and communities.
But I especially applaud those who don’t merely communicate well but are willing to take bold actions, launch new programs — and of course, communicate that too. Luckily for me, some of these organizations who seek to be change agents are clients.
Stoll Berne is a boutique Portland-based law firm that takes cases on behalf of consumers, investors, sometimes businesses and the State of Oregon. Operating as Two & Oak Cycling, the firm is a primary sponsor of Cycle Oregon as well as legal counsel for the Community Cycling Center and The Bike Gallery. The firm’s work is fueled in part by the passion of long-time cyclists who work there, most notably its managing partner Keith Ketterling.
As a Cycle Oregon board member, Ketterling fully supports the group’s mission to transform individuals and communities through cycling. Yet, he’s admittedly concerned that the event involves some privileged folks riding into town on high-priced bikes, enjoying the local community and even supporting local businesses. But then, they hit the road the next morning and look ahead to the next rest stop rather than reflect on how they might address the social inequities they likely witnessed.
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