Why Advocacy Matters

Andrew Kopp was elected Board President of BikeSD at our May board meeting. Below are a few of his thoughts on the importance of advocacy.

Advocacy transforms communities

It’s a wonderful thing to think we very well could be celebrating Pride Week in San Diego on the heels of an historic United States Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. San Diego’s LGBT Pride Week is always terrific, in no small part because the city as a whole has tremendous pride in its LGBT community. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, this year’s Pride will be very special.

But the recent rapid expansion of LGBT rights and the sharp, positive turn in the general public’s feelings toward LGBT members of our communities were not inevitable. It was advocacy. From the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act”, to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the United States Armed Forces, and more, the advocacy organization, Human Rights Campaign, has lead the way in researching and developing public policy, and generating the kind of public support through education and awareness campaigns that has given elected policy makers little choice but to join their constituents on the right side of history. After all, their message is simple and compelling: almost everyone knows and loves someone who is LGBT – and Love Conquers Hate.

Like any good organization, Bike San Diego is mission-driven: “To establish San Diego as a world-class bicycling city and create a more livable urban community by promoting everyday riding and advocating for bicycling infrastructure.” From working toward that mission’s achievement, we hope for the strengthening of community, founded in great neighborhoods, anchored by a public moving and mingling together about safe streets. If you live in the City of San Diego and that greater vision of community appeals to you, BikeSD advocates for you.

As the recently elected Board President, I’m honored to be able to tell you the BikeSD Board of Directors has adopted a five-year Strategic Framework to guide our advocacy on your behalf. We believe it provides the direction for our nationally recognized Executive Director, Samantha Ollinger, to deliver on the promise of our mission. And it includes you.

Our advocacy can only be as strong as the commitment of our members. In the coming year we need to grow our staff of professionals to focus on crafting policy with expertise, outreach and counsel to public agencies and elected officials, and organizing a member-based movement that leaves no question of the type of community we expect in San Diego. To do those means we need to expand both our contributing membership and volunteer core. In committing, both as a recurring contributing member and an occasional volunteer, you are helping serve notice to those who need hear it most, that the constituency of building a great community is unified and activated toward this shared mission. Show that commitment today.

Advocacy matters. We need look no further than the highest court in the land, this summer, to see its strength.

You can support our advocacy and join the movement by becoming a member and making a tax-deductible donation. Or, committing to be a volunteer.