We’re seeking seasoned, effective, passionate community organizers to connect our members and partners with opportunities to improve the livability and bikeability of their communities. Interested?
We caught up with current community organizer Julia Raskin to share all the details on why and how she does her incredibly valuable work. Read on for those juicy tidbits, then apply today!
SF Bicycle Coalition: After living in New York City (NYC) and Bogotá, Colombia, what motivated you to become a Community Organizer in SF?
Julia Raskin: I’ve always been drawn to work that connects people to their neighborhood and to one another through placemaking and programming in public spaces. At the Department of Parks and Recreation in NYC I worked with community park volunteer groups to redesign their parks and foster stronger park stewardship within the neighborhood. Through this job I was inspired by the power of community to enact real neighborhood changes.
I moved to Bogotá after that job to help organize the fourth World Bike Forum in Medellín, which was a ton of fun. I’ve always loved my bicycle, but I never thought it could be a part of my career. After meeting bicycle advocates from all over the world, I realized that creating a space for people to ride bikes is critically important to building community and better neighborhoods in which to live, work and play.
What is it about the SF Bicycle Coalition’s work that resonates with you?
Our mission to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation resonates strongly with me because it recognizes all people who bicycle, including those of different abilities and those who do it for different reasons. When the bicycling experience becomes better and safer in San Francisco, people from all walks of life benefit. I am especially excited that more of our membership is talking about how to grow our movement to include the voices of those who have been underrepresented in bike advocacy, like people of color and LGBTQ communities.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role at the SF Bicycle Coalition and how you develop connections with members and partners?
As a community organizer I work on street campaigns in about half of the city’s neighborhoods, including Hayes Valley, the Richmond, the Sunset, the Financial District and Balboa Park. So, if any physical changes are coming to the street that would improve the state of bicycling and walking in one of my organizing districts, I’ll know about it.
My favorite way to connect with our members and partners is to sit down over a coffee and talk about the projects that matter most to them.
How does your work as a community organizer relate to the SF Bicycle Coalition’s mission to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation?
A lot of the street campaigns that I work on are for commuter routes like Page or Fell and Oak streets, but I also work on more traditionally recreational routes like the Embarcadero. Then there are ones in the middle like Arguello Boulevard, which connects the two biggest parks in the city and also provides an important route through in Inner Richmond for commuters.
What changes would you like to see in San Francisco to make it more livable and bike-friendly?
We know from traffic studies that the number one reason for traffic fatalities is speeding. So I really want to see Automated Speed Enforcement measures passed in Sacramento and at City Hall. I also want to see more bicycle facilities in neighborhoods that haven’t seen as many bike lanes go in, like Mission Bay and Balboa Park.
Can you share some tips for candidates applying to join the SF Bicycle Coalition as Community Organizers?
If you have experience with community organizing and a passion for bicycles, we want to meet you!
This wonderful job, working with really terrific humans to reshape the streets of neighborhoods across San Francisco is only available for a limited time. Interested community organizers passionate about social justice and transportation should apply today.