Dear SFTR Community,
I am writing to share with you that after two and a half years of serving as Executive Director at San Francisco Transit Riders, I will be leaving the organization on February 8. I am so grateful for the opportunity to partner with and support the passionate transit advocacy community in San Francisco, the broader region, and nationally in advancing a just future for residents and riders alike.
I arrived at SFTR to advance systems-level approaches in addressing disparities through near-term and long-term policy initiatives, capacity building for local communities, and implementing place-based investments in underserved neighborhoods. As I leave this role, I am proud of how Transit Riders have been meeting the current moment at the intersection of many of these priorities. We led the way in making visible the often missed lived realities in the Bayview-Hunters Point and in developing and facilitating the city-wide Transit Justice coalition. As the work continues, we have been delicately educating audiences in the practice of targeted universalism approaches, finding ways to ensure that impacted communities can access benefits without being overly burdened and that in effect benefit the city and region overall.
All of this has been collective work. I have appreciated collaborating with hardworking staff and board as we’ve leaned into a culture of deep collaboration and collective liberation including emphasizing staff-led work and decision-making as well as time spent on renewal and rejuvenation. Over the last couple of years, SFTR has risen to new professional standards. Being successful in attracting multiple new funding streams that doubled during this time, we have been able to increase salary levels to match industry standards, provide health benefits, include a budget for professional development, and implement a four-day week schedule. Overall, SFTR is resourced with a well-rounded small but mighty team where my hope is that colleagues have felt a sense of ownership of their projects and ideas. Together, we have completed our Strategic Plan through 2025. Together we have secured wins, including state budget allocation for transit, Prop L expenditure plan, the withdrawal of the proposed Charter Amendment, and no new Muni fare increases among others. We have also secured new partnerships while strengthening existing ones, Transit Month, Voices for Public Transportation, inaugural Safe Routes to School, and (forthcoming) community-led initiatives in two equity neighborhoods in the city. (Stay tuned!)
Our wins have also been grounded in deep listening to our members and partner advocacy organizations with whom we have been reimagining our shared vision of safe, affordable, and abundant transportation options intersecting with and supporting other community needs. In that regard, it has been truly inspiring to embrace the teachings of writer, and scholar Kafui Attoh- “They (the stakes beyond saving the environment) extend to issues of urban democracy, of who is part of the public, and who by dint of poor transit is alienated from it.” When I look back on this chapter, I know now what I will look back on most: relationships, community, passion, and commitment.
As for what comes next for me—building on what has continued to fuel my interest while working at SFTR, I am moving on to a new role in a non-profit incubation space that is experimenting with true alternatives to capitalism by building local, regenerative, and restorative economies that center needs of underserved communities. This work lies at the intersection of philanthropic, public sector, and community partnerships.
With the foundational work we have collectively done at SFTR over the last couple of years, I am confident that the organization is set up for success. SFTR’s staff and board will continue to be a resource on program-related inquiries and organizational-level questions during this time of transition.
I am leaving SFTR with a heartfelt gratitude for the work and relationships that we’ve built together and with an earnest hope for collaboration with you in new ways from within the social justice circles we both share.