We are so grateful and blessed to be presented this award from an amazing organization that ties safety, education, advocacy, equity and community building in their work. We admire and commend Multicultural Communities for Mobility for being such an important asset in our ‘hoods – where, like the Ovarian Psycos, we are constantly told that our work is not needed.
As anti-imperialist feminists we firmly believe that Womyn of Color, our communities and the land are now and always have been interchangeable. Since colonization we continue to be simultaneously exploited, occupied and raped within patriarchal societies, specifically by foreign hegemonic power structures. We view government and their agencies acting on their behalf as actively engaging in strategies to annihilate, displace and enslave People of Color while progressively harming our people and Mother Earth in the process. As a result of this history we have been forced to mobilize, to heal ourselves and our communities physically, mentally and spiritually
Similar to MCM, the Ovarian Psycos choose the bicycle as a tool not only to engage our communities in physical activity and to lower our impact on the Earth but also to create safe spaces. Our monthly “Luna” rides, which takes place every full moon of the month, was created due to a lack of sisterhood in our communities and serves as a means to spark discussions on gentrification, domestic violence, sexual health and many more topics that Womyn and People of Color face on a daily basis. Our new physical location, La Concha, continues to be a brave and safe zone for marginalized people to come together and build with one-another. Through classes and workshops, such as beginners bike mechanic class with MCM’s own, Rio Contreras, It serves as a space where womyn of color, queer, trans and gender nonconforming individuals can come share and learn with one-another.
In our 4 years of organizing we have found ourselves not only resisting the oppressive forces that plague our communities but also a bike culture dominated by middle and upper class white men. We have been told time and again that our spaces are not necessary, that our spaces are problematic because they are not always inclusive of cis men, or because we choose to focus our energies on communities of color. However in a society that constantly tells us that our struggles, our histories and our lives don’t matter these criticisms only push us to continue our work.
Our work is intrinsically tied to MCM’s mission of facilitating and enabling bicycling advocacy for low-income communities of color, neighborhoods that we come from. We believe that having reliable, safe, environmentally-sound, and affordable mobility throughout the city is not a privilege, it is a right! At our core we believe that bicycling is a transformative tool of agency because we use it to move about the city autonomously, to help us promote health and mental well-being, to spiritually connect to our cultural roots and because we’re broke inner-city oppressed peoples and cycling is our only means of transportation. And we are proud to consider MCM an ally that is inclusive and encouraging of womyn of color to take part in the conversations regarding bicycling and transit where they have previously excluded and to voice our multifaceted perspectives as sisters, mothers, students, hustlers, immigrants, and radical womyn.
Over the years we have experienced barriers and challenges, but also successes. Some of these successes, such as our now, annual bicycle ride, Clitoral Mass are easy to see and celebrate. However, the majority of success stories and lasting impacts we have on our communities, we may never see. One of these stories is that of a brigade member and organizer at Corazon Del Pueblo, Xochitl Palomera. When she began riding with the Ovas 3 years ago, just making it to work on her bike was a challenge After riding with us for a few months she began riding to work regular and encouraged her mother to begin riding her bike as well. With the bike experience she gained, last year Xochitl rode all the way from LA to Tijuana, Mexico with her now partner. When she came back she thanked us because she never thought she would see herself making such a trip on her bike. Stories like these serve as reminders that while we may never see the changes in our communities that we work day in and day out (without pay) For, we are planting the seeds for our communities to be more self sufficient and autonomous. Its these stories that keep us going.
With that being said, we would like to acknowledge and thank the following groups, collectives and organizations for the continued support and community they have built with us:
Multicultural Communities for Mobility: where we continue to draw inspiration from and for the precedent they have set for other advocacy organizations in Los Angeles.
Corazon del Pueblo: our birth-place and original home.
The Eastside Café: where we gain our motivation of autonomy and Zapatismo.
Comida No Bombas: For their continuous love and support and the solidarity work they continue to do by providing people with food, the most basic human right.
Mujeres de Maiz & Af3irm: Our sisters and companeras in the struggle who value radically transformative local organizing and who make themselves accountable for the betterment of all marginalized peoples.
Proyecto Jardin: who, like their beautiful garden, have given the Ovas a place to grow and flourish.
To the Community of Boyle Heights: our home, the barrio where we have planted seeds and grown roots.
To our Brigade, Supporters, and Allies: thank you for your unwavering dedication and support since the very beginning. Your well wishes and cariños have carried us through these past four years. We would not be where we are at today if it were not for you keeping our Psyco spirit alive.
To the womyn warriors that came before us. The organizers, the rebels & revolucionarias, las madres y las abuelitas, the artists, writers and poets, the cyclistas and founding members of the Ovarian Psycos who continue to inspire us and paved the way for us to be the Psycos that we are today.
To our families, and loved ones: Many of us do the work we do because of you. Because of everything you have given us, sacrificed for us, and instilled in us.
And last but not least to our daughters and the next 7 generations for whom we continue to do this work.