Transportation – how we get to where we need to go – should not be a barrier to access work, school, healthcare, or even social outings with family and friends. All too often, transportation policies promote driving in a car alone from the suburbs to job centers. This car-centric policymaking ignores the reality we see in Black and Latinx communities, where car ownership is lowest and decades of disinvestment resulted in poor transit, walking, or biking options. Communities of color additionally bear the brunt of highway expansions, which plow through historic neighborhoods, displace residents, and impact the health of those left behind.
For many communities of color across Houston, transportation is a barrier due to systemic policies that perpetuate historic disadvantages and racism. Changing systems is a long-term commitment. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for more equitable transportation policies. We hope you will join us to learn more how racism impacts transportation policies and investments, and what you can do to effect change from Houston’s own LINK Houston. LINK Houston is committed to advocating for racial equity and justice across one system that affects all of our lives: transportation. As we grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, and fight against the abject violence that has claimed too many Black lives, we remain steadfast in our mission, which focuses on equity and access to opportunity..
Presented by Oni K. Blair.
Oni K. Blair serves as executive director of LINK Houston, a non-profit advocating for transportation equity. Since launching in 2017, LINK Houston’s civic engagement and data-informed research has shaped a $7-billion transit plan; compelled the Houston Mayor to fix Houston’s dangerous intersections and launch a zero-fatality safety campaign; influenced an alignment between affordable housing and transportation; and supported advocacy that led to the metropolitan planning organization awarding $51.5 million to communities impacted by a highway expansion and the county filing a lawsuit over inequities in the project. Oni serves as a voting member of the metropolitan planning organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee and on the Harris County and City of Houston Vision Zero Task Forces. Before joining LINK Houston, Oni was a career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, where her work focused on international human rights and humanitarian assistance. Oni earned a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.