After a decade in the bookselling and book publishing industries, I discovered a new passion, and went back to school for community planning. Around the same time, I got back on my bike for the first time in nearly 20 years and fell in love with getting around under the power of my own legs. My real “a-ha” moment in terms of getting around by foot—whether that’s walking, pedaling, or using an assistive device—came when I began to explore the intersection of public health, equity, and transportation. The disparity between the celebration of a child’s first steps and the disregard for the “pedestrian” in much of our fast-paced, auto-centric adult lives is stark, and I’m fiercely committed to narrowing that gap.
The mission of my work with California Walks is so simple, and yet tremendously challenging: through advocacy and community empowerment, we are dedicated to creating healthy, safe, and walkable communities. My work in San Jose and across the state isn’t simply policy-focused: we look to celebrate walking and the sense of community that can be gained when we’re able to view our cities, and our neighbors, on a human scale. In fact, since moving here a little over a year ago from DC, I’ve learned the most about my new home, and met many of my new friends, while walking and pedaling around.
Article originally appeared in Issue 7.3 Style.