Editor’s note: Recently we echoed what many Black and Brown leaders in the mobility sector have been saying for years: there is no mobility justice without racial justice. The post below was written by multiple staff members and partners and is part of an ongoing series of statements, media, policy changes, and actions our organization is taking with the goals of rooting out white supremacy and systemic racism from our organization and from transportation and to advocate anti-racist policies.
Traffic stops make our streets less safe for Black, Brown, Immigrant, and Indigenous communities. Today we sent a letter to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms calling on the City of Atlanta’s Department of Transportation Vision Zero program to remove police enforcement as a traffic safety tool. This is a collaborative effort of PEDS, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Georgia STAND-Up, and TransFormation Alliance.
On Friday, June 12th, unjust enforcement by two Atlanta police officers cost Rayshard Brooks his life. Police are sworn to serve and protect, not take the life of a father asleep in his car in a fast-food drive-through. While Atlanta underwent police reform following the Atlanta Police Department shooting of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnson in 2007, this event is just one indication that the reforms did not work. The racial disparity in police violence is staggering. Black people in the U.S. are dramatically more likely than whites to be killed by law enforcement.
We stand with organizations calling for long-overdue changes to policing on our streets, some of which begin to address institutional racism in our transportation systems. Our groups have been trying to bring changes for safer streets, especially to the High Injury Network concentrated in Southwest Atlanta, for over two decades.
For years, our organizations have advocated for the City of Atlanta to adopt and implement Vision Zero policies to eliminate traffic fatalities. During the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s 2017 campaign for Vision Zero we said “While some U.S. cities include enforcement of traffic laws using traffic stops in their Vision Zero strategies, we do not support that strategy for Atlanta. …there has been growing interest in limiting law enforcement actions in Vision Zero.”
Act now to call on the City of Atlanta to remove police enforcement as a traffic safety tool by adding your voice to the chorus calling for long-overdue changes to policing of our streets.