07/18/12

Walk a Mile in Someone Else's ShoesWalk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes

By Joan Pasiuk, Director, Bike Walk Twin Cities

 

"Before my daughter, Robin, went to be with the ancestors, MS put her in a wheel chair and when she was unable to get around at all, I realized that walking is something to cherish." 

These are the words of Dee, who submitted her moving elegy and a pair of Robin's shoes for an exhibit to emphasize walking as mobility and as a measure of our connection with the world. Transit for Livable Communities/Bike Walk Twin Cities is participating in the Equity Now TC initiative that addresses local inequities. As part of TLC's commitment to advancing shared prosperity (TLC mission:"...transform Minnesota's transportation system to strengthen community, improve health and opportunity for all people...") we are proud to participate in Equity Now TC, an initiative and ongoing work of many local organizations.

The installation in Robert's Shoe Store at Lake and Chicago will be removed this week but the stories of walkers will remain on the Equity Now TC website. Vibrant neighborhoods with corner stores, well-maintained sidewalks, easy connections to transit stops, safe crossings at intersections, tree-lined routes on hot summer days are important for all of us and easier to appreciate if we walk a mile in someone else's shoes:

 

"I am a case manager who works with clients who travel miles in their shoes looking for transportation, housing, and employment. It is a hard and arduous journey for these courageous men and women.

I walk and drive the streets of Lake Street and Chicago Avenue every day. I see my people traveling miles in their shoes looking for a break in life. Fortunately, there are now native agencies that help our people with resources and assistance to make their lives better. My shoes have traveled these streets, too. The challenges I face pale in comparison to the clients I work with and my own Ojibwe people.

I sent my oldest pair of shoes to this exhibit. I never would throw them in the garbage and no one else would want them as they are worn and indicative of the life I used to lead. The kid of a single parent with one pair of shoes to wear due to economic strife.

I hope I help the people on Lake and Chicago personally and in my work. Those are the shoes I walk in now."

Mary (excerpt)

 

 

"I'm in my early 40s, and I've never owned a car in my life-in every city I've lived in, I've walked and taken the bus, which definitely limits where I can go, the jobs I can take, and the resources available to me, but that's how I can afford to live. I'm an actor and writer, and I fit the 'starving artist' profile pretty perfectly; and with the economic downturn, I've been struggling more than ever. About a year ago, I made the rule for myself that to save money on refilling my Metro Transit card, if I CAN walk instead of taking a bus ride-that is, if where I'm going to is close enough and I'm not under a time deadline-then I have to walk. I actually love walking, and so this has kind of become a game for me - seeing what crazy locations I can get myself to walk home from. I THINK my record so far is that I've walked back to Uptown from the 'Egg & I' building at University Avenue and 280 in St. Paul."

Amy (excerpt)

 

For more stories from the diverse walkers in our Twin Cities community, to submit your own story, and to learn more about Equity Now TC's ongoing efforts to achieve equity for Minnesota, visit the Equity Now TC website.  [http://equitynowtc.org/about]