We have all experienced individual and collective trauma this year, and the effects of that trauma will likely last well into the future. Prolonged isolation, fear, financial insecurity, sickness, police brutality, and harassment are only some of the complex issues that kids faced this year, especially kids of color, disabled kids, and kids from lower-income families.
It has now been about a year and half since the world turned upside down; a year since the renewed call for racial justice shook cities across the United States and the world. As we near the end of shutdowns, masks, and social distancing, we can’t go back to “normal.” The world has changed— we have all changed. We have to move toward what’s next. The good news is that what’s next can be determined by everyday people making and advocating for small improvements to make their communities more equitable, healthy, and safe.
Last week the House of Representatives passed a five-year, $715 billion dollar transportation reauthorization bill called the INVEST in America Act. The bill includes significant increases in funding for Safe Routes to School, and reinstates the requirement for each state to have a full time Safe Routes to School Coordinator. On a broader level, it also increases funding for bicycling and walking overall, and has a stronger focus on Complete Streets and safety for vulnerable road users.