Open Letter to the League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors
To the Board of Directors of the League of American Bicyclists,
Many in the bicycling movement were energized to see the League of American Bicyclists commit to creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone. Understanding the critical importance of greater equity, diversity and inclusion to the success of the bicycling movement, the League established as one of the four primary goals in its 2015–2018 Strategic Plan to “build a board, staff and network of partners and allies that represent and are connected to America’s diverse communities.”
We want to congratulate the board on its recent appointment of Alex Doty as the next Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. Mr. Doty has a proven track record of success in both growing nonprofit organizations and creating lasting change that has benefited a diverse range of people who bike. We are confident that Mr. Doty has the competence to restore the League to a level of organizational health that will benefit advocates and bike riders across the country.
We in no way aim to minimize the challenges faced by the League’s Board of Directors nor to criticize the selection of Mr. Doty, who we believe to be a fine candidate for the position. But we must express our concern as diverse leaders — women, advocates of color and equity allies — within our collective active transportation movements that the organization “appointed” a successor to this critical leadership position rather than conducting a formal nationwide search. We believe that the League’s decision to bypass a national search is a recurring example of an organizational practice that systematically undermines equity, diversity and inclusion within our growing bike/walk movement.
As leaders and members, we look to the League of American Bicyclists to communicate our movement’s interests to our federal lawmakers and, as such, it’s critically important for the organization to include our nation’s and movement’s diverse perspectives in its advocacy work. We believe that any organization that values equity, diversity, and inclusion should begin with intentional hiring practices that seek to ensure a diverse pool of candidates. While we understand that an extensive search process takes time and resources, we are confident that an open and transparent search would have yielded many qualified candidates and helped the organization regain the credibility and trust that is essential during a period of transition.
However, we are heartened by Mr. Doty’s stated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and we ask that…
- The organization pledge to engage in an intentional, and inclusive search to fill current (and future) staff vacancies.
- The League pledge to continue to invest in its Women Bike program and/or Equity Initiative (inclusive of gender equity) — ideally through dedicated staff but by whatever means are feasible given current financial challenges — in a way that supports women and advocates of color rising in the ranks of transportation advocacy and policy work.
- The League pledge to make a public and intentional effort toward gender equity and increased diversity among speakers and presenters at the National Bike Summit. This approach has already proven fruitful for the Online News Association’s annual conference. (Please contact the undersigned for contacts for ideas in this regard.)
We, the undersigned, believe deeply in the League’s stated mission to create a bicycle-friendly America for everyone. As such, we look forward to engaging in further dialogue on how the League can be a leader in breaking down the structural barriers that stand in the way of the diverse board, staff and network of partners and advocates the organization seeks to achieve — for the benefit of all.
Alison Hill Graves
Mary Lauran Hall
Olatunji Oboi Reed
Chema Hernández Gil
Dr. Adonia Lugo
David Gordon Wilson (LAB Life Member)
Amy Johnson Ely
Shannon Brescher Shea
David E Davis
Joanna Oltman Smith
Francisco D. Grajales
Bekka Wright (Bikeyface)
A. J. Zelada, OD
Tamika L. Butler
Hjordis Grace Armstrong
Lindsey Bartley (Kelley)
W. Preston Tyree
John A. Petty II
Mary Anderson, LCI 1678
Cooper Jones (LAB Life Member)
Andrew Fung Yip