In early 2015, Transportation Equity Caucus, The Leadership Conference Education Fund and PolicyLink awarded grants to six organizations nationwide to advance equitable transportation policies addressing the needs of low-income people, communities of color, people with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups.
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in collaboration with Live Well Springfield, both based in Springfield, Massachusetts, was among six organizations that received a grants to advance affordable, accessible transportation in their communities.
The PVPC used the funds to engage a cross-section of the African American and Latino emerging community leaders to strengthen their leadership skills to lift up the Equity Caucus Agenda locally and federally.
Almost two dozen residents participated in the three workshops:
1. WHY TRANSPORTATION MATTERS
These workshops connect Transportation challenges to issues participants may already be engaged with (such as housing, education, jobs, health, food security)
2. ISSUES AND ACTIONS
Identify specific transportation policies and link with their outcomes (i.e; policy to increase affordability, policies for workforce development, policy to promote healthy, safe communities, policies for equitable investment in transportation) This may be done with cards listing policies that have to be set on a board with outcomes (could be “power-mapping-like)
3. TAKING ACTION: The “who” and the “how”
Each participant selected a specific transportation policy and/or outcome from last week session and identify the step necessary to advocate for that policy/outcome.
All workshops included Spanish-language interpreters, which several participants relied on, dinner, childcare, travel reimbursed and a stipend.
Equitable transportation investments are crucial to connecting people to jobs, educational opportunities, affordable housing, health care, and other basic needs. Emerging Leaders from Springfield met with the five other communities at a meeting in Washington, D.C. in June, 2015, to share information about the work.
The Transportation Equity Caucus represents the nation’s leading civil rights, community development, disability, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women’s groups, and transportation organizations. Through a coalition of over 100 organizations, the Transportation Equity Caucus is charting a new course for transportation investments, one that is focused on policies that advance economic and social equity in America. For more information, see www.equitycaucus.org.