In September 2019, a group of dope-ass women came together at a planning conference to discuss the connections between intersectionality, equity, and transportation planning. This experience led to an unimaginable bond and sparked a strong desire to re-center conversations that are too often relegated to the sidelines.
After eight months of working on our own timelines and at our own pace, we are excited to present At the Intersections, a new publication centering the narratives, experiences, and expertise of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in transportation and mobility.
This is our space to speak fully and authentically about the issues that matter to us, to hold nuance and complexity, to co-create a collective vision — thriving, viable, with Black, Brown, & Indigenous people front and center.
Why we stand at the intersections:
Too often in the field of planning, engineering, and design Black and Brown women are silenced and erased.
I see you and I hear you…these were the words that we all recognized when we had the chance to participate in this history making panel in Toronto, my home city. Too often in the field of planning, engineering, and design Black and Brown women are silenced and erased. This moment was about joy and healing. It was greater than discussing technical concepts of cross-walk times, parking reduction considerations, and bicycling infrastructure, it was about disrupting those conversations and building a bonded sisterhood along the way.
…true innovation and justice lies at the epicenter of our complexities.
When I first started in this profession, I struggled to find my voice. I didn’t think there was room for me and the things I was passionate about in the context of my work. At the Intersections is my way, as Toni Morrison would say, of doing language. Through this journey to my voice, to myself, I have learned that language is best done in community. I don’t know where this project will lead. But I do know that the remarkable women behind this endeavor remind me of the power we have when we speak up and speak out.
At the Intersections is an invitation for us to engage authentically with the topics that are typically left within the margins of the transportation and mobility industry — race, gender, ability, class, sexuality, culture — and bring them back to the center. I believe true innovation and justice lies at the epicenter of our complexities.
I reclaim myself as a planner who practices in the name of community power…
These past two years in the transportation planning field have left me with deep, deep scars. These women supported me in times when I felt like my work was a problem because it made my white counterparts uncomfortable. They reminded me that my contributions to this field are essential and have the potential to make the world better. They are my healing space.
I reclaim myself as a planner who practices in the name of community power indoctrinated by W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Grace Lee Boggs, Robert D. Bullard…to name a few. In the tradition of the aforementioned, At The Intersections is about building our own table where we radically reimagine our liberation.
…this field reminds us daily that we are considered but mere footnotes in our own stories.
Working within the field of transportation planning feels like erasure in real time. The narratives, the ethos, the top-down approaches, who is seen as an expert — this field reminds us daily that we are considered but mere footnotes in our own stories. In an attempt to find my own voice, I’ve been fortunate to connect with a larger community of people othered and have found solace in our shared commitment to rewriting these stories from our own point of view and creating our own measures of success.
…our panel was the first time and place I felt like I could be myself in front of an audience.
When we first met in person, we had an hours-long conversation about some of the nuances (and more obvious facts) of what transportation means for people of color. We should have recorded it, but it can live forever in our memories and in legend. Later that day, our panel was the first time and place I felt like I could be myself in front of an audience, and it was more fun and musical, more ours, than I have ever witnessed before at a conference. That space is what we’re trying to recreate with At the Intersections. I am honored to be in conversation and community with brilliant and passionate Black women whom I deeply respect.
To our friends and colleagues who already know about life at the intersections, and to those who are genuinely curious, we see you and we invite you to this table.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.