NEW ORLEANS: INTERVIEW WITH ANGELLE BRADFORD #WOMENCRUSHWEDNESDAY

This #WomenCrushWednesday we are spotlighting Angelle Bradford, a Women4Climate from New Orleans mentee who is dedicated to building a broad coalition of stakeholders tackling public transit issues in South Louisiana. Angelle leads advocacy efforts to ensure accessibility of public transportation in New Orleans and the region, with the aim of dually achieving public transit as a public good and carbon emissions reductions.

 

W4C - What's the story behind your project and what inspired you to start it?

Angelle -

In under 2 years, my original Women4Climate project has evolved and been adopted by the Sierra Club Delta Chapter, which I am a part of, and we are working on the development and implementation of a Statewide Transit Equity Connectivity Plan, in coalition with other organizations, labour and workers’ unions and community leaders.

There are so many needs in south Louisiana and here in New Orleans, it was hard to land on what made the most sense and honoured the greatest need. But transportation, as this dimensional, amorphous thing that we have made so cumbersome to navigate or discuss, felt befitting to delve into. At the time, folks were discussing rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans again, something I had heard about for years while growing up. On a personal level, I liked the idea of riding my bike more, of travelling intercity and within the city more via public transit, and I was also coming across people and stories of folks who relied solely on transit. Hearing about their own challenges and barriers was inherently galvanizing for me.  I was inspired by this concept of being able to get from New Orleans to anywhere else in Louisiana and for others to be able to do the same..... and vice versa. And for that public good and access to matter more...for families, workers and communities to matter more... than profit. I want our decision-makers to understand and commit to the possibilities of public transit, and to value that transit can be enjoyable, beautiful and convenient. Of course, it does not hurt that investment in public transit represents a vital step towards divorcing ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuels. 

 

Members and allies of the Sierra Club Delta Chapter in a debrief call after their statewide Transit Equity Day event

Members and allies of the Sierra Club Delta Chapter in a debrief call after their statewide Transit Equity Day event. More about the event here
 

W4C - What message do you have from your own journey of being a Women4Climate, for aspiring women leaders working towards a sustainable, greener and an ever-unpredictable future?

Angelle - Even, and especially, during a global pandemic, I found community both here in New Orleans and globally. Women4Climate has been a constant for me. I have learned that compassion and authenticity are the bedrock for meaningful, collective work, which is what saving the planet is. Our generations - all of those alive right now- are tasked with what could feel insurmountable. But when you have mentors, and women leaders that not only help show you the way but also help you to establish your own direction and a path, you will find yourself absolutely affirmed and grounded. I am not a competitive person, so the cooperative and collaborative environment has been really good for me. When I have needed to pivot, there have been resources and supports for me to balance my project responsibilities with my own self-growth and care. And ultimately, I am not hopeless anymore about the future of our climate because Women4Climate has exposed me to so many different ways to work towards a unified goal. My time with the program has been a treasure and an honour.

W4C - Where do you see our cities in 10 years' time?

Angelle -

If we are to conquer climate change, our cities will need to be more equitable than they have ever been, with leaders and activists thinking outside of the boxes that we are currently emerging from. I don't see a greedy and disparity-laden economic system being the wave of the future, if we are going to have a future. Our cities will be in this ongoing fight to address poverty and we will have centred public good and access to food, water, shelter and movement/transit over the deep pockets of industries and corporations. And there will be more womxn in our governments, at all levels.