Call for Collaborators: Untokening Detroit Advisory Committee

Help us plan our third Untokening convening in Detroit on November 11, 2018. For more information, contact Heather Nugen at or the Untokening collective at Please indicate your interest by April 25!

What is The Untokening

For years, racial and social justice-oriented activists has been working in and observing U.S. sustainable transportation advocacy, planning, and policy spaces. We have often encountered a tokenizing dismissal of our perspectives in these spaces, which tend to be defined by white, middle-class values. We find an expectation that we will use our diversity to support biking and walking movement visions and strategies that were created without us in mind, rather than solicitations of our participation as knowledgeable peers. The Untokening centers the lived experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) leaders and those of marginalized identities to address mobility justice and equity. We aim to develop networks, convenings, and resources that support leaders and community members who want to bring their lived experiences within marginalized communities into their professional work. In 2016, we launched The Untokening, an organized effort to establish a multiracial movement for mobility justice. We held our first national convening in Atlanta in 2016 and second event, Untokening California, was held in Los Angeles in 2017.  We aim to hold our third event, Untokening Detroit, in November 2018.

Why we need Untokening Detroit

In Detroit, only 30% of households do not have access to a car. The city has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths of any in the United States. The victims of these collisions are often blamed for their injuries and deaths. Yet, our non-motorized infrastructure is inadequate and inequitable. The Detroit area has long been characterized as one of the most racially segregated in the U.S. with an unreliable, adversarially operated public transportation system. When bicyclists are engaged, they are often divided by definitions of what behavior constitutes the authentic identity of a “Detroit cyclist.” These definitions leave out the most vulnerable riders. The current climate for mobility advocates with marginalized identities in the region is one of embattlement. Untokening Detroit is an opportunity for leaders of color and those from marginalized communities to come together in a space of support, solidarity, and healing to address mobility justice issues.

Your Role in Advancing this Vision

To guide the vision and planning of Untokening Detroit, we are convening an Advisory Committee comprised of leaders of color and people with marginalized identities and interest or experience working in and observing mobility advocacy, planning, and policy spaces. We seek collaborators with experience in racial and social justice-oriented activities and a desire to address mobility justice issues in Metro Detroit. This committee will be supported remotely by the national network of members of The Untokening and members will be compensated for their time and expertise.

Interested? Contact Heather Nugen at or the Untokening collective at Please indicate your interest by April 25!

Untokening Collective