Last year, we helped launch a new transit advocacy coalition called Transit Forward Philadelphia alongside fellow Philadelphia-based organizations including AARP, SEIU32BJ, 5th Square, Clean Air Council, and many more. This newly formed coalition began organizing riders and organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania to advocate for safer, more accessible, and more sustainable transit improvements throughout the region.

Recently, Transit Forward Philadelphia’s Coalition Manager and Organizer, Yasha Zarrinkelk, was awarded the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) 2021 Transportation Justice Fellowship. This program, designed by NACTO and the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), was developed to provide personal and professional development to 12 BIPOC transportation practitioners passionate and dedicated to advancing social equity and mobility justice.

Yasha and the rest of the cohort will receive more than 60 hours of training, coaching, and mentorship in order to develop individual and institutional capacities for creating a more just and representative mobility field. The fellowship will be overseen by a major agent of change, Dr. Destiny Thomas of the Thrivance Group alongside NACTO and BBSP.

“I’m so excited to be apart of this cohort of BIPOC practitioners who have been tirelessly fighting to be seen, represented, and affirmed within the transportation field”, says Yasha Zarrinkelk, Coalition Manager of Transit Forward Philadelphia. “The opportunity to learn from such an amazing group of people alongside Dr. Destiny Thomas and NACTO and BBSP is truly a privilege.”

Yasha and the other eleven fellows will embark on a 9-month journey that will culminate with a formal concept or policy that demonstrates the benefits of operationalizing equity within transportation.

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