Today was the first scheduled meeting of the Social Justice Committee at Sacred Journey Fellowship with more people than me in it in a very long time. There were two other people in the room with me which for a church our size is a massive turnout for a committee meeting.
What we discussed was the direction the SJ committee at SJF was going to take. I mentioned how in the past we (me) had pushed for Transportation Equity for a few years, then how we had moved to LGBT issues to synergize with the UUA national push for marriage equality. I mentioned how there were new things we could focus on, or that we could go back to any of our previous areas, but that as a very small committee we had to choose one and stick with it if we wanted to be effective.
The issue that seemed to connect with the new people the most was going back to transportation equity. Both the new people are living in Mesquite, another inner-ring suburb of Dallas just south of The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell that if anything is even worse than The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. I mean as bad as it is we have DART trains and buses, they have a handicap ride system like the DART Paratransit system that doesn’t go outside the city limits, and one DART bus that goes to the old Downtown. Other than that they got cars, and some recreational bike trails. There are a few subdivisions that have no sidewalks and no direct grid system, just labyrinths of cul de sacs that connect to traffic sewers as like the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell most of the town did not exist prior to 1970 and large portions built during the late ’80s and ’90s when automobile-centric planning hit its zenith. One of the new people lives 2 miles from the nearest place where food ingredients can be purchased, a convenience store. The last half-mile is walking in the mud along a traffic sewer with a 40 MPH speed limit and cars going 55-60 MPH.
The thing about fixing transportation inequity is you can’t legislate your way out of it, you can’t educate your way out of it, and most definitely you can’t PSA your way out of it. Sure all of the above is required, but first and foremost you have to build your way out of it and that costs $$ ££ €€ or whatever your local currency symbol is. That in turn means transportation equity has to first fight the inertia of complacency, that what is being done now is fine and nothing needs to change, especially change that’s going to cost money. If we go back to transportation equity that’s what have to go back to fighting. I’m not sure I want to go back to that, but if the rest of the committee wants to go that route… I’m along for the ride.
And it’s late and I need to hit the hay. And I didn’t even mention the hours building and installing the rail on the back steps of the church which combined with the morning, and evening services, the committee meeting, and the bus ride to the meeting meant I spent just enough time at home to get a PB&J sandwich and a cup of yogurt for lunch between installing the rail and hitting the road to catch the bus for the meeting.