Acceptance Speech: Stephen Box Responds to His Streetsie Win Last Week
I’m honored to be recognized with the Livable Streets award as Person
of the Year and I’m humbled as I look around at the many activists who
also work tirelessly to make Los Angeles a Great City. Most of all, I’m
convinced that this "Streetsie" award belongs to everybody who walks,
rides a bike, and takes mass transit because that’s the simple action
that has within it the power to return our streets to the people of Los
I’m grateful to Damien Newton (and Marybeth, Sammy, and Bear) for
bringing StreetsblogLA to life and for creating a "common ground" venue
that allows activists of all modes to communicate, to network, and to
work together on connecting Los Angeles and improving its Street Life.
I’m touched by the many gracious comments and commendations, all of which are greatly appreciated.
But most of all, I’m acutely aware that activism in Los Angeles is a
team sport and that I am surrounded by champions who are committed to
changing the world.
been Storming the Bastille since the beginning. Glenn Bailey has been
on fire as the new LABAC Chair. Josef Bray-Ali has energized the movement with his acute control of policy. Roadblock has been a formidable advocate on the City Hall rides. DJ Chickenleather has been everywhere, documenting the revolution. Danny Jimenez has been relentless in court. Ramon
Martinez and Stephen Villavaso tore into the Draft Bike Plan like
pitbulls. Ron Durgin and Michael Cahn took bike education to new heights. Jeremy Grant demonstrated the unbeatable utility of the bike. Along the way Alex Thompson has put focus and order to the chaos and Enci has brought balance and support, all of which has resulted in an unbeatable movement!
We’ve fought lots of battles, we’ve engaged in many campaigns and there
are lots of victories in there. But the things that I am most proud of
are not the things we finished but the things that we’ve started.
This past year saw the formation of the LA Greensters as a sustainable transportation solution for
Enci’s film production. Ron Durgin has filled a huge void with the
formation of Sustainable Streets, an organization that will provide
education and planning services to businesses, communities,
organizations and individuals. Alex Thompson has come out of the Draft Bike Plan brouhaha committed to changing the world and his
Bikeside organization will focus on activism, straight up activism.
This "Streetsie" award is a terrific honor and a reminder that the
little things we do to make Los Angeles a Great City resonate and
impact the lives of others. This Common Ground is worth celebrating and
I am grateful for the nod.
I never set out to be an activist or a community organizer. Four and a half years ago, Enci and I left the Echo Park Film Center
where we had enjoyed DJ Chickenleather’s Bike Summer films. We just
wanted to ride home safely. But a Metro bus operator had intentions
that were in conflict with our desires and he "asserted" himself three
times before forcing me from the road. Thus was born the Accidental
Activist and since then Enci and I have been engaged in a battle to
make sure that everybody can ride home safely. It’s a simple goal but
it has been a battle all the way.
Through all the battles and campaigns, we’ve always stayed connected to the spirit of Bike Summer and the joy to be
found in discovering the city on a bike. Along the way, we’ve partnered
with pedestrian activists, stair-climbing champions, transit advocates,
planning professionals and mobility experts. We’ve learned from them
all and we’ve discovered the "common ground" that unites us all in our
journey. Our original goal of simply "getting home safely" is now
complemented by a desire to see our streets become the living public
space that is the sign of a Great City.
Thanks again for the nod and I’ll…
"See you on the Streets!"