This story was originally published in LA Streetsblog.
“It’s still important for us to come together,” began Taryn Randle, one of the ride leaders and member of both the Ovarian Psycos and Black Kids on Bikes.
The black-brown tension sometimes present in L.A. had been a surprise to her when she arrived here from Chicago, she told the largely black and brown crowd. Fixing it had become a major focus of her studies and work, and she looked at the Black & Brown Unity Ride (organized by the Psycos, BKoB, and the East Side Riders) as a simple but effective way to take the issue on.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to have this unstated hatred towards each other based off of ignorance. I think it can be overcome by simple things like this ”” us coming out like this on a Sunday, biking, kicking it, eating, listening to music”¦.It’s a good way to start that conversation and building that bridge.”
Bringing groups of riders together and letting the communities they rolled through see that adults of all races could have fun together, she and others felt, could provide a good example for communities and youth struggling with those issues in their own neighborhoods.
Along the way, Taryn reminded the riders that the purpose of the ride was unity. She encouraged them to talk to the riders they hadn’t come with so that they could get to know each others’ experiences.
The openness of riders to learning about each other seemed to make it easier for people to join in as we went along.
At Mariachi Plaza, one of the start points of the ride, I spotted a Latino gentleman on a bike watching the riders stretch. I asked if he wanted to come along with us.
Let me call my son, he said in Spanish.
He wanted his fourteen-year old to see the spectacle and join in. When his son said he couldn’t get there in time, the man decided to come along anyways. It was his first experience with a group ride, and he appreciated the larger purpose behind it.