HUB Cycling Equity Framework
May 1, 2023
The work to develop this framework began on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səlí̓ lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It is intended for application in all the areas HUB Cycling operates on the traditional, unsurrendered territories of many First Nations. Learn more about the distinct languages, economic backgrounds, and First Nations communities in regions across BC on this interactive map available on the BC Assembly of First Nations website.
This framework aims to provide high-level vision, guidance, and accountability by outlining past harms, current policies and goals, and other vital directions to create the future of an equitable and just organization.
The primary audience for this framework is HUB staff, intending to enable them to be equitable in everything we do, from hiring new team members to communities we serve.
This framework is a living document and a source of education, reference, and inspiration for anyone interested in learning more about HUB Cycling’s efforts to be a more inclusive organization.
As a first step, we have undertaken an exploration to document the ongoing colonialism faced by the Host Nations, Urban Indigenous people and other equity-denied groups. The harms these communities face are unique and separate, though there are some common root causes for these inequities. HUB Cycling respects the political autonomy of the First Nations1. In practice, this means that we do not represent any First Nations, and we do not speak on their behalf.
Trigger Warning: The following content contains discussions of sensitive topics related to systemic racism, discrimination, and privilege, which may cause emotional distress or trigger traumatic memories for some individuals. The next five sections discuss past harms experienced by Indigenous People, people with disabilities, communities marginalized by white supremacy, and marginalized groups affected by ecosystem health. You may wish to skip to the ‘Vision’ section below.
Content Warning: The following content will discuss the concept of equity frameworks and may include language and terminology related to race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of identity. It may also discuss systemic issues related to power imbalances and historical oppression. Please proceed with caution and take care of your mental and emotional well-being.
HUB Cycling may share an editable version of this document with any organization interested in using it as a starting point to develop its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework. Please be in touch.
1. Past Harms Statements
We (HUB Cycling) acknowledge that, like many other cycling advocacy groups, HUB Cycling has benefited from the systemic foundation of colonialism, white supremacy, and racism.
The history of cycling advocacy work shows the exclusion of people from racialized and marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, immigrants from non-European nations and women and non-binary people.
The lack of diversity, especially among the decision-making positions, can have side effects on some of the advocacy work and infrastructure measures we push for when we fail to include the perspective of underrepresented communities.
2. Indigenous Peoples & Indigenous Sovereignty
On Thursday, 13 September 2007, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly with a majority of 144 states in favour, four votes against and 11 abstentions2. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States voted against adopting UNDRIP. Canada did sign on in 20163, and on June 21, 2021, Bill C-15, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, received Royal Assent and became law. The Act outlines Canada’s obligation to uphold Indigenous peoples' human rights (including Treaty and inherent rights) affirmed by the 2007 UN Declaration. These include the right to self-determination and the right to have Treaties respected and enforced.
The UN Declaration contains international human rights standards that Canada and all members of the UN have affirmed, then re-affirmed many times. The Act does not create new rights. Nor does it take away, diminish or redefine any rights. This is about taking long overdue action to respect and implement the rights First Nations already have. More information can be found here.
In Nov 2019, the B.C. provincial government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) into law. One of the key areas of the legislation mandates the government to align provincial laws with the UN Declaration. On March 22, 2022, the Province released the Declaration Act Action Plan (PDF, 32 pages), developed in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples. The plan outlines 89 specific actions every ministry in government will take to create a better province for Indigenous Peoples in B.C.
In 2021, Vancouver City Council created the UNDRIP Task Force in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation. The mandate of the UNDRIP Task Force was to collaboratively develop a report to advise Vancouver City Council on implementing the UNDRIP in Vancouver. On Oct 25, 2022, the council passed the City of Vancouver’s UNDRIP Strategy (PDF, 61 pages), making Vancouver a national and world leader in implementing a clear strategy towards UNDRIP and reconciliation. With 79 calls to action, the report was already approved by the three nations on whose territory Vancouver is located.
Indigenous peoples in Canada disproportionately continue to have a small, fragmented land base, with limited commercial and residential use, limited natural resources, far from urban centers and limited ability to expand. Any effort to promote active transportation, especially building cycling infrastructure, among First Nations must begin by acknowledging Indigenous Sovereignty.
HUB Cycling could act as an ally by publicly supporting initiatives like LANDBACK4, a political framework that envisions a world where Black, Indigenous & POC liberation co-exists. (Whenever HUB Cycling takes a position on an issue, it must go through HUB’s Approval Committee. HUB Cycling’s Regional Advisory Committee debates the pros and cons before a position is submitted to the committee for consideration/approval. The current approval committee comprises six board members, including two staff members: the Executive Director and the Director of Campaigns and Inclusion. We will continue seeking approval from this committee before publicly endorsing any statement.)
3. People with Disabilities
For generations, disabled people, particularly those with intersecting marginalized identities, were considered a problem that must be hidden away. Throughout that time, the disabled community has tried to tell society that inaccessibility and ableism are the problems. Our built environment, as well as our systems and norms, are inaccessible and oppressive to many. There is a strong movement advocating for a Disability Justice framework that understands that all bodies are unique and essential and that all bodies have strengths and needs that must be met.
“Disability is part of being human. Almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life. An estimated 1.3 billion people – about 16% of the global population – currently experience significant disabilities. This number is increasing due in part to population ageing and an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.
Disability results from the interaction between individuals with a health condition, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression, with personal and environmental factors including negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social support.
A person’s environment greatly affects the experience and extent of disability. Inaccessible environments create barriers that often hinder the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society on an equal basis with others. Progress on improving social participation can be made by addressing these barriers and facilitating persons with disabilities' daily lives.”
Source: World Health Organization
Discrimination against people with disabilities is often linked to ableism, attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of people with disabilities, prejudicial attitudes, negative stereotyping, and stigma. Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or perceived as disabled. Ableism characterizes people as defined by their disabilities and inferior to the non-disabled.
Canada has a long history of institutionalizing discriminatory policies against people with disabilities. One of the oldest examples is the establishment of legislation in 1839 to authorize the “erection of an asylum within its province for the reception of insane and lunatic persons” to “deal” with people with developmental disabilities.
Disabled persons, like all non-disabled people, have the right to use all public services and facilities, including stores, restaurants, educational institutions, public transit, government services and active transportation networks. There are many tangible barriers to everyday cycling for disabled people, especially women, non-binary, and transgender individuals – lack of safe infrastructure, lack of access to cycles, lack of ability to ride a bicycle, etc. Electric-assist bikes, tricycles and quadri-cycles, adaptive cycles, rickshaws, hand cycles, and cycle attachments for wheelchairs, etc., are all tools disabled people can use to maintain control of their mobility.
Cycling is more than just a transportation tool; it gives disabled people of all ages, backgrounds, sexual identities, and abilities the freedom to move. Bicycles can also be a tool of freedom and independence for people with disabilities, but they have often been excluded from decision-making and education opportunities. Inaccessible infrastructure is a significant barrier that prevents disabled people from adopting cycling as their transportation mode.
Another step towards greater equity in transportation infrastructure regulation is to welcome people who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters to use bike and roll routes, which HUB Cycling has recommended in our advice to the BC Government when reforming the BC Motor Vehicle Act.
HUB Cycling can become an ally for the disabled community by reviewing all future policy recommendations via the disability lens developed by the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance and answering some key questions, including:
1. Could this infrastructure accommodate other cycling methods?
2. Would you feel comfortable riding recumbent in those bike lanes?
3. Can an adaptive cycle be stored and locked in these end-of-trip or street-storage facilities?
HUB Cycling should coordinate advocacy efforts with organizations to create equitable access for people with disabilities. We must reach out to people who ride recumbents or use adaptive bicycles and see what they need to make them safer. Disabled cyclists are their best advocates, and we must speak to, listen to, and learn from disabled people to understand how our streets are inherently designed for the abled. HUB, as an organization, will strive to pay attention to the language used to avoid perpetuating stigma against disabled people, eg blind to their faults, etc. Retardation, Challenged and Special Needs are derogatory terms to describe disabled persons and should not be used.
December 3 is now recognized worldwide as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the United Nations.
4. Communities Marginalized by White Supremacy
How do we define white supremacy throughout this document and in our communications?
Many people, at first glance, associate the term “white supremacy” with extreme and explicit hate groups. However, sociologists define white supremacy as a highly descriptive term for the culture we live in, a culture which positions white people and all that is associated with them (whiteness) as ideal.
We use the term to refer to a socio-political-economic system of domination based on racial categories that benefit those defined and perceived as white. We anticipate that our discussions about race and equity will make many people uncomfortable (even angry). We mustn't change our language to further white comfort. Rather, the onus must be placed on white people to break out of their comfort zones, realize that things must change, and initiate self-education and skill-building to become stronger allies.
For example, racialized communities have been targeted throughout Canada’s history to advance white supremacy, displacing racialized folks for profit, growth, and development for gains to white settlers. Black people (e.g. through the destruction of Hogan’s Alley5 to make space for a highway ), Chinese people (e.g. through the Chinese head tax6 demanded immigration to Canada and restrictions on livelihoods and voting rights and segregation ), South Asian peoples (e.g. through denied entry to Canada when passengers on the Komagata Maru7 steamship arrived in Vancouver, and then were forced to remain onboard for months before being forced back to India), and Japanese peoples (e.g. through forced relocation to internment camps during World War 2, and the subsequent auctioning off of their property, homes and boats) were explicitly targeted in the history of Vancouver to make space for white, colonial dominance.
Municipal and Provincial policies translated racist practices into urbanism: segregating the rich from the poor, the whites from the non-whites, the enabled from the disabled; and the Indian Act established reserves to separate Indigenous Peoples from their once vast territories.
Equity-deserving groups are disproportionately excluded from the health and social benefits of cycling due to gender-based street harassment, profiling, and poverty. When we advocate for cycling infrastructure and safer streets for everyone, we must look beyond infrastructure and address a wider range of street-based safety concerns.
5. Ecosystem Health and Marginalized Groups
Humans rely on a healthy ecosystem, and marginalized groups are disproportionately negatively impacted when our environment is under stress. We must learn from nature, and our future cities must be built around ecological principles or powered by nature’s knowledge and apply these lessons to solve transportation challenges and mitigate human-caused environmental degradation.
To build healthier and happier communities, HUB Cycling should promote cities and neighbourhoods where human-powered transportation is commonplace, and public transit is fast, reliable, and safe. We can support abundant green spaces where all community members have equitable access to these green spaces. We can advocate that our infrastructure is resilient and resource-efficient and enhances a sense of community.
HUB Cycling must seek to build human-powered transportation systems resilient to nature’s uncertainties, such as climate change, disease, drought, and diminishing resources. The focus should be on infrastructure design that optimizes efficiencies among land use, transportation, energy, water, and waste systems. The transportation choices should be cost-effective, continue reducing carbon emissions, and store carbon.
HUB Cycling strives to advocate for racial and cultural equity through its advocacy work, education, research, engagement and events, to get more people cycling more often.
HUB’s Equity Statement8
This Framework is based on HUB Cycling's commitment to creating a welcoming, inclusive organization and to working with people and communities to support them to thrive and prosper. Diversity is integral to this commitment. Diversity among our members, volunteers, staff and Board of Directors allows us to better understand, connect to, and respond to the needs of HUB members and broader communities.
Inclusion is an underpinning value of what HUB Cycling stands for, as reflected in our Core Values:
- Respect all forms of transportation.
- Value cycling as a community-building tool and healthy practice for individuals and our environment.
- Provide inclusive, forward-thinking programs and services known for engagement and empowerment of the community and their transportation choices.
We view the diversity of our members and communities as assets and strive to create and sustain a diverse and culturally competent organization that reflects the populations we serve. This is central to our mission, “to get more people cycling more often,” and to our ongoing efforts to remove barriers to cycling. HUB Cycling is transforming our decision-making, access to programs, and advocacy informed by Indigenous knowledge and non-white world views.
The visible and invisible differences that exist among people, including but not limited to: gender identity, race, ethnic origin, age, place of residence, sexual orientation/identity, economic status, language, religion, education and family/marital status
A strategy to promote fairness. Giving individuals the resources they need in order to be successful. Equity may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but is considered equivalent in terms of benefits, obligations and opportunities.
HUB Cycling is committed to taking meaningful steps toward long-term change. We recognize that the organization cannot make systemic change overnight or do this work alone. Below are some of the ways that we will work strategically to influence change:
- Engage directly and work collaboratively with equity-deserving groups, including but not limited to racialized communities, financially marginalized people, and First Nations, e.g. work with UNDRIP Task Force to review our Indigenous Peoples & Indigenous Sovereignty section in the introduction and recommendations about First Nations.
- Create a welcoming and inclusive workplace and proactively seek more diverse team members.
- Engage governments and public institutions to address systemic/institutional discrimination by using the tools we have at our disposal:
- policy recommendations,
- public engagement,
- and operations.
- Allocate funds exclusively for serving underserved communities for each project/program, including communities who face disproportionate (uneven/unfair) impacts from climate change, namely:
- Indigenous, Black, and other racialized peoples;
- migrants and refugees;
- people with limited English;
- low-income and poor folks;
- people who live and/or work outside;
- those experiencing homelessness;
- sex workers;
- substance users;
- 2SLGBTQIA+ people;
- women and girls;
- pregnant people;
- people with disabilities/disabled people;
- those with existing health conditions (like asthma and heart disease);
- fat people9.
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HUB Cycling's efforts to be a more inclusive organization.
USEFUL REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Hummingbirds Rising: Decolonization Training
- City of Vancouver: Equity Framework (PDF, 12 pages)
- City of Vancouver: Climate Justice Charter (PDF, 42 pages)
- University of British Columbia: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms
- Disability Justice: Introductory Readings - Wherever You Are is Where I Want to Be: Crip Solidarity, Mia Mingus
- Disabled And Here - A disability-led stock image and interview series celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC).
- A-Z listing of First Nation in B.C.
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Canada Becomes a Full Supporter of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- David Suzuki Foundation: What is Land back
- Vancouver Public Library: Hogans Alley
- City of Vancouver: Historical Discrimination against Chinese People
- City of Vancouver: Komagata Maru
- HUB Cycling Diversity Policy (Approved by the HUB Board of Directors April 2019)
- Fat Acceptance Organization: National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance