Bicycle Coalition

We first met Ella Best when she joined us on community rides with our 2015 Ambassador, Kim Smith, and later joined the Better Bike Share team as a community ambassador.

Ella, a community organizer in Point Breeze, started the group Don’t Shoot, I want a Future which works to combat violence by providing positive experiences for youth in the community and was featured in CBS News as a “Community Gamechanger” for her incredible work.

Bicycle Coalition

In addition to her community work, Ella graduated from Harcum College, and worked at a law firm.

We were devastated to hear of Ella’s passing on April 4th.

Some of our staff, and former staff, who knew her best, put together some thoughts to remember her.

Bicycle Coalition

Ella and crew at the “Rainy Day Event” (see below)

“I was fortunate to be able to work with Ella through the Better Bike Share Partnership. I was impressed with her positivity, creativity and dedication. She did so much work for her community with her organization, Don’t Shoot! I Want A Future, and always greeted people with a joyful spirit. Ella organized a lot of rides with community members and they were welcoming fun-loving experiences. I could see the love they all shared for their community and the important work they were doing. This news of Ella’s passing came as a shock to me. I am reflecting on all the lessons that Ella taught me about being a tireless advocate for our children’s future and about working in community.” – Azephra Hamilton

“Ella Best had a smile and energy that would light up any room she was in. I will forever be inspired by her love and dedication for her community. As an Indego Community Ambassador, Ella planned some of our most memorable rides. My favorite was the “Glow Ride,” where we rode from South Philly to Boat House row decked in lights and colorful glow sticks. Ella’s legacy will live on forever.” – Waffiyyah Murray

“I met Ella Best in 2016 when I recently joined the Better Bike Share team. Little did I know she was part of my neighborhood, but mostly she was from the uptown part of South Philadelphia (the other side of broad) where most people often think of too many shootings or other violence, and never got to see the real stuff that involved most of Ella’s hard work hard — and that was the unity the community. Ella wasn’t just a neighbor, but an advocate for her next generation and her future just like her organization “Don’t Shoot I Want a Future”. She was devoted to seeing many things change in her community for the greater good, and she was one of Indego’s greatest ambassadors. She would do anything to get people into resources, and that means challenging them to get on a bike and strive to a new route. She will always be in our minds, and she will always be remembered as one of Better Bike Share Greatest Ambassador.” — Brenda Hernandez Torres

“Ella Best was a true Queen of South Philly. She gave so much to her community, so tirelessly, in so many ways – from anti-violence activist to Indego Ambassador to Girl Scout leader to a thousand other roles. It was one of the great joys of my time at the Bicycle Coalition to get to know her, and she will be deeply missed. <3 <3 <3” – Katie Monroe

“Ella Best was a phenomenal Indego Ambassador as well as a consistent ambassador for her community and people in need. One of the most memorable community bike rides I was a part of was one that Ella organized; we were riding from Point Breeze to the Parkway with packs and packs of food that Ella and her husband, Norman, prepared to help feed people facing food insecurity. Pouring rain has ruined a lot of community rides but not this one. Despite the fact that it was pouring a few people persevered and rode their bikes while a car with the food followed. One thing was clear, this ride was not going to be stopped because it was driven by a mission. Ella was driven to spread positivity and help others and it was an honor to work with her through Indego biking and beyond.” — Greg Young

Read Ella’s obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer

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