Summer’s Favourite Activity is Driving Positive Change for Young BIPOC Women and Newcomers in Windsor
As Windsorites usher in the warm summer weather, bicycles are once again populating city streets. One Windsor charity is ensuring young, BIPOC women and newcomers in particular have equal access to cycling, so they can explore the Windsor-Essex community safely and confidently this summer and beyond.
Facilitated by Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, Inc. (WEST), the Young Women in Motion: Breaking Barriers with Bikes project will increase the mobility, physical and social wellbeing, leadership abilities and teach hands-on repair skills, resulting in higher self-confidence for young BIPOC women. Additionally, the program’s investment in diverse young women is enabling them to be seen and heard in the Windsor community. As participants move through the city landscape by bike, they are on the lookout for ways to improve cycling trails and access, ultimately presenting their findings to municipal councils to drive positive change.
“This innovative project is a crucial next step in breaking barriers to inclusion and independence by ensuring young women have more transportation and the freedom to explore the community safely,” says Rose Anguiano Hurst, Executive Director at Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor. “Our initiative is building healthy, independent, confident, stronger newcomers and BIPOC women.”
The project is supported by Kia Communities in Motion – a grassroots endeavour that will see Kia Canada invest $1.4M over four years to support local projects building inclusive communities through innovative programming encouraging movement. The program is in partnership with Community Foundations Canada (CFC) and is supporting nine projects in its inaugural year.
“The first year of Kia Communities in Motion is already seeing several incredible initiatives drive innovation, inspiration and movement at a grassroots level, and we’re proud to see Windsor’s Young Women in Motion: Breaking Barriers with Bikes project come to life,” says Elias El-Achhab, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kia Canada. “At Kia we recognize the importance of the incredible work being done at a local level and we’re thrilled to support this important initiative that is empowering young BIPOC women in breaking barriers to access.”
This project will lead to the increased community inclusion of the ideas, needs, and voices of racialized young women and girls to municipal councils and planners. It has the potential to inspire, increase and enhance the physical mobility of women in the Windsor-Essex community and for the changes recommended by the participants to lead to better bike access and safety on local trails and within the community at large.
“We work with young newcomer and BIPOC girls and women aged 16 and up, and have witnessed their ability to share observations and propose solutions to community issues in our leadership programs,” adds Anguiano Hurst. “We have seen time and again how investing in diverse young women enriches our community and creates better opportunities for their futures for building true leadership skills, which enables them to surmount systemic economic barriers and social barriers.”
WEST seeks opportunities for young newcomer and BIPOC girls and women to be seen and heard as young leaders and influencers in the city they inhabit. The organization aims to enable these young women to experience the freedom to explore and contribute to their community by purchasing and repairing bicycles, gaining safe biking skills and touring their city.