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Juliette Rizzo

A widely recognized and visible champion, national spokesperson and enthusiastic advocate for disability rights, deeply committed to educating the public and bringing mainstream visibility to issues that impact the disability community and the greater community at large, Juliette Rizzo knows firsthand the power of transforming limitations into opportunity.

Juliette acquired three physical disabilities (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and fibromyalgia) in her youth but refuses to define herself by traditional barriers and preconceptions. Using her greatest gift, namely her ability to tell her story of true physical and emotional recovery with strength, courage and hope, she has inspired thousands as the former Ms. Wheelchair America, encouraging others to find their own courage, share their vision and help her change the world.

As one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women, Juliette also is an award-winning public relations professional, employed as the Director of Special Projects, Partnerships and Events in the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., engaging others in the President’s and Secretary’s national education agenda. From concept to crowd building, production to pre-show, as well as site selection and on-site management, Juliette has an extensive track record of directing and planning high-profile special events. From building an event for First Lady Michelle Obama in the East Room of the White House to designing a STEM event with Ivanka Trump at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, to co-directing an historic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, complete with the original “Freedom Riders” of yesterday and 75 young freedom riders of today, who boarded buses, or “rolling classrooms,” in front of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building for a symbolic and celebratory “return to freedom” ride to the governor’s mansion in Richmond, VA, Juliette’s work has received national and international media attention.

Recently, Juliette was awarded the first RISE Forward Award in Loudoun County, Virginia for her work engaging American high school theater students, working uniquely with a sister school in Canada via Skype, in the White House arrival ceremony of the Prime Minister of Canada. In addition, her work extending the reach of the White House Easter Egg Roll to school districts across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia also was recognized with the Assistant Secretary’s Award for Communications. Other events in her portfolio include Presidential State Arrival Ceremonies (for the Holy See, Canada, Japan, China, Singapore, Italy and the Nordic countries of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland); White House Halloween, Let’s Read! Let’s Move! one-of-a-kind reading and physical activity events for children hosted at the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Library (where only Queen Elizabeth has held an event before), the National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; FLOTUS film screenings, workshops and garden events; national bus tours for the Secretary, media and campaign launches, etc.

Very successful at recruiting top talent and entertainment, Juliette’s events and related projects have featured ABC’s Chef Carla Hall, CSI’s Hill Harper, HGTV’s The Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, Star Trek’s LaVar Burton, Morgan Freeman, Tony award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, U.S. Olympian Michelle Kwan, NBA’s Jeremy Lin and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the NFL’s Brian Mitchell, John Fina and LeVar Arrington, Wimbleton’s Leander Paes and Martina Hingis, personal trainer to the former First Family Cornell McClellan and a variety of other celebrities and public figures.

Prior to this, Juliette served as Director of Conference Services and Agency-wide Outreach for the Department of Education, promoting the national education agenda through 60 trade shows and exhibits a year and coordinating internal agency-wide outreach across 21 principal offices and 10 regions.

As part of an executive leadership program, Juliette also worked with the National Transportation Safety Board in D.C., where she advised on internal and external communication strategies for the agency, its Chairman and appointed Board members, as well as its modal offices, under the direction of the managing director. Juliette was made aware that her recommendations were incorporated into an overall reorganization plan by the managing director and later implemented in part by new leadership.

Juliette found her courage, shared her vision and began her career at the Department of Education as the Director of Communications and Media Support Services for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), under the world-renowned disability advocate and then Assistant Secretary Judith E. Heumann. Juliette also provided communications support to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the directors of the Office of Special Education Programs and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. In addition to media relations, Juliette directed both internal and external communications, as well as national events, including milestone celebrations for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Involved in the establishment and promotion of a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, its 3,000 chambers, three million member businesses and its Center for Workforce Preparation to increase the employment of people with disabilities, Juliette led a creative team of designers, copywriters and editors from the Department and the Chamber to develop the guidebook “Disability Employment 101. “

As an advocate for inclusive health and wellness, Juliette was called upon by former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona to host “Disability is Not Inability,” the nationwide video release of the Surgeon General’s first “Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities.” In 2015, Juliette also was called upon by former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to launch another national Call to Action focusing on Walkable, and thanks to Juliette, Rollable Communities. Most recently, Juliette was invited by the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability to speak about health equity and support the Inclusive Health Bill of Rights at the National Press Club for the Inclusive Fitness Coalition: Celebrating 10 Years Event.

Known for her story-making abilities as a journalist, Juliette also pitched to the Maryland-based Discovery Health channel that people with disabilities have the same fitness and wellness needs as everyone else, a message often overlooked by the mainstream media and in local, state and national health and fitness arenas. Experiencing weight loss challenges personally due to limited mobility, secondary conditions and inaccessible workout facilities, Juliette advocated for producers to profile someone with a disability in the channel’s fitness programming. Receiving a surprise telephone call from Film Garden Entertainment in Hollywood, Juliette became the first person with multiple, severe disabilities to appear on the mainstream, health and fitness “National Body Challenge” series and related news break commercials advocating fitness for “every body.” Reaching millions, Juliette’s message about embracing a healthier lifestyle is still featured in their programming today. As a result, Juliette earned a Presidential Active Lifestyles Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and appeared on The Learning Channel and PBS in “Education News Parents Can Use: Keeping Kids Healthy, Physically Fit and Learning throughout the Year.” Juliette also has been featured on television working out with her trainer in a boxing gym.

Refusing to accept the barriers many women with disabilities face to receiving adequate healthcare, Juliette also advocated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health to ensure the needs of women with disabilities are integrated into nationwide women’s health information dissemination and national awareness campaigns. As a result, Juliette was selected by HHS to appear on the CBS Early Show as the first woman with a disability to serve as the national spokeswoman for National Women’s Health Week and National Women’s Check-Up Day, advocating to millions for preventative health screenings for all women and breaking down firsthand the myth that disability equates to sickness.

Before coming to D.C., Juliette was recruited by Pierce, Deditius & Galyean (PD&G) Advertising, the once leading healthcare advertising agency in the Southwest, to direct public relations for the agency’s national and international client base, including Johnson & Johnson Medical, Columbia Children’s Hospitals and Slugger Orthopedics. Her work was recognized with a “Best of Texas” award from the Texas Public Relations Association and an International RX Award.

Prior to this, she served as Director of Disability Support Services for Texas Woman’s University, managing a caseload of over 200 students with disabilities and expanding academic service provision and curriculum access across the University’s four campuses. In between advising and mentoring students, consulting with staff about reasonable accommodations, and chairing the University’s ADA committee, Juliette increased visibility of available services through an expanded community outreach program and an award-winning promotional campaign.

Recognized for her numerous achievements, Juliette was selected as Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2004, Ms. Wheelchair America 2005, and has been featured in publications and on radio and television around the world, including Woman’s World Magazine, Life Magazine on-line, Time Magazine, The Today Show, the CBS Early Show, the Discovery Health Channel, National Public Radio, the Maurice Boland Show (Spain), Arthritis Today, Exceptional Parent, Careers & the Disabled, Vegetarian Times, New Mobility, The Washington Post Magazine, etc.

Juliette is an active volunteer and citizen advocate who believes participation is more than having a physical presence in the community. She says it’s about finding identity through involvement in and contribution to community life. Juliette is a “Heroine of Washington,” honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the March of Dimes for her dedication to community service. She also is recognized as a Drum Major for Service by the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, for “her extraordinary work and service within the education sector and the broader community….where she continues to devote numerous hours to serving individuals living with disabilities to help them live their best life.”

She received the Governor’s Citation by Governor Martin O’Malley for her work on behalf of people with disabilities in the state of Maryland, and the League of People with Disabilities honored Juliette as Advocate of the Year. She also holds the key to the city of Columbia, South Carolina presented to her by former Mayor Bob Coble. She was recognized by Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) as one of three extraordinary public relations practitioners in Washington, D.C. and also was recognized by Tau Kappa Alpha National Honor Society in Journalism.

Juliette has applied her award-winning public relations background to raise awareness of arthritis and its impact on 46 million Americans, having served in a volunteer capacity as National Public Relations Chair for the Arthritis Walk, an $11 million property involving nearly 350 events in 40 markets with more than 80,000 walkers.

Juliette serves as a committed member of the award-winning board of directors of Easter Seals Greater Washington-Baltimore Region. As a lead spokesperson, she has attracted, engaged and influenced partners, investors, leading philanthropists and prospective board members with capacity to realize the mission and future vision of Easter Seals, resulting in funds raised, people served, lives improved and stronger communities. She also helped communicate the vision for and actively supported the $18 million capital campaign for the groundbreaking and launch of Easter Seals 42,000-square-foot Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Inter-Generational Center, an international model of service delivery custom-built to provide services for over 1,500 children and adults with special needs.

Juliette is listed with Damon Brooks Associates, the leading nationwide speakers bureau representing people with disabilities, and appears regularly before audiences from 10 people to 20,000, across the United States speaking on topics ranging from the employment of people with disabilities to accessible transportation, public relations/communications, image building, diversity, health and wellness, etc. She moderated the private release of the Sundance docu-series PUSH Girls and the private screening by Fox Searchlight of the movie “Sessions,” starring Helen Hunt and John Hawke. Juliette recently addressed American Airlines crew chiefs at Reagan National Airport and previously served as an enrichment speaker and ambassador for Celebrity Cruise Lines under Royal Caribbean International, where she also provided disability awareness training to front-line dining and stateroom cruise staff. She currently serves on the Royal Caribbean Guest Advisory Board on Disabilities.

Identified as one of 21 international thought leaders on leadership (including Former President Bill Clinton), Juliette was invited by HR.com to speak at the “Oscars of Human Resources” Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) conference in Dallas, TX. She also delivers keynote addresses and diversity workshops across the federal government, focusing on the employment of people with disabilities. Previous addresses include the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA), the U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and FEMA), U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the Social Security Administration, General Services Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NASA and the National Institutes of Health. She also keynoted the Perspectives on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities Conference sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, NOAA, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, USDA and the DOD.

Juliette holds a Master of Journalism degree, focusing on public relations with a unique minor in rehabilitation studies, from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Juliette also is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a national leadership training program to promote independent living and to teach self-advocates with disabilities to influence public policy. Residing in North Bethesda, MD, she served three governor-appointed terms on the Maryland Commission on Disabilities and was appointed by the governor to the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council.

As a freelance journalist, Juliette has been published in Allied Healthweek, Nurseweek and Advance magazines.

Amidst the stories of great disability leaders, Juliette’s passionate message can be found in the compilation “Enabled in Words: The Real Lives, Real Victories of People with Disabilities.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsville- Walking our Way to a Fit Future

This is part of the panel, The View from City Hall: Opportunities and Challenges for Small Towns 

The goal of our presentation is to showcase our small towns Natural Resources <Riverview Beach Park, Delaware River access, and Fort Mott State Park> and share the towns vision and commitment to a Healthier Community.  We have a long-term plan to tie into current walk ways, both in New Jersey, and the state of Delaware by connecting a 3.5 mile stretch of unpaved/ unused land on the water way in Pennsville.  In our long-term vision we would like to build a dock and have Ferry service to Delaware, which would allow us access to an 18 mile trail, making our total trail between both States over 25 miles long.

Presenter: Billy Biebel, Township Committeeman, Pennsville Township

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Kristin Beckmann, Deputy Mayor, City of St. Paul

Kristin Beckmann became Deputy Mayor of Saint Paul in May of 2014. Before joining the Coleman Administration, Kristin was the Vice President of Programs & Services at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for five years. At Habitat she managed the organization’s housing stabilization programs for low income families while overseeing community and government relations. As an affordable housing developer, Kristin gained great knowledge of Saint Paul – its community groups and the city government as they worked to revitalize neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosure and build homes where people can afford to live.

Kristin took two short-term leaves from Habitat – one to work on Governor-Elect Dayton’s Transition team in 2010 and the other to work on Mayor-Elect Hodges’s Transition team in 2013. In this capacity, Kristin assisted both the newly elected Minnesota Governor and the Mayor of Minneapolis to identify key leaders for their administrations.

Prior to working at Habitat, Kristin was the Executive Director of Service Employees International Union Minnesota State Council. At SEIU from 2002 to 2008 she ran the political and legislative programs for the union. As the PAC Director she managed large scale voter contact programs. As the head lobbyist, Kristin focused on issues healthcare and immigration reform, nursing home and public education funding, and issues facing low-wage workers.

Kristin attended the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs from 1998-2000 and received her MAPA in nonprofit and public organizational management. After finishing graduate school and before starting at SEIU, Kristin worked for a year each at the Minnesota Department of Health and the Office of the State Auditor on similar efforts around government and community relations.

Prior to graduate school, Kristin was a political fundraiser and worked as campaign staff or consultant from 1992-1998 for candidates including Paul Wellstone, Ann Wynia, Ember Reichgott-Junge, Sandy Pappas, Amy Klobuchar, and David Minge. Kristin received her bachelor’s degree with majors in Political Science and Communications from Macalester College in 1992.

In her spare time Kristin serves on the Boards of womenwinning, Minnesota United PAC, Minnesota Housing Partnership and the Family Housing Fund. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband Robert Richman and their two children. She is a member of Mt. Zion congregation.

Adonia Lugo

Adonia is an anthropologist who focuses on racial inclusion in active transportation movements. Since receiving her PhD from the University of California, Irvine in 2013, Adonia has organized people of color active transportation advocates and professionals around the country, most recently as part of the The Untokening. In addition to being a partner with Bicicultures, Adonia teaches and advises students on sustainability and social justice at universities in the Los Angeles area. She serves on the advisory boards for Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) and Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ). You can learn more about Adonia’s work at her personal website, urbanadonia.com.

Using Mobile Location Based Gaming to Increase Community Engagement

This presentation is part of the “Walking into the Future: Technology and the Walking Movement” panel.

Niantic, Inc. has pioneered the use of mobile location based games to encourage community engagement and outdoor exploration. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots that makes significant investments in vibrant public spaces and places that bring people together. Through Niantic’s games, which include Ingress and Pokémon GO, there’s been a rise in gamers who play games outside, leading to increased walking, social interaction, and a number of health benefits. Recognizing shared goals, Knight and Niantic entered into a partnership to work together to explore how their games can get citizens outside, exploring their towns in city-organized events. This presentation will focus in on how we can use outdoor, mobile gaming to encourage communities to come together and create positive experiences in public space, and what we’ve seen so far from our partnership.

Presenter: Yennie Fuller, Civic & Social Impact, Niantic

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Nature’s Role in Community Health and Wellness

This presenter is part of the Livable Communities for All Ages panel.

The benefits of nature are becoming increasingly known in many fields, but how does it touch down in communities? The Children & Nature Network is supporting the implementation of nature-rich strategies across the country through the implementation of policies and programs to amplify equitable access to nature.

Presenter: Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director, Children & Nature Network

From Engagement to Action: Getting Tactical

This presentation is part of the Designing for Inclusive Health panel.

A session discussing the use of Tactical Urbanism as a joint strategy between Duluth’s Commission on Disabilities, the Public Health Department, and a local non-profit organization to address long-standing accessibility barriers for pedestrians in Duluth, MN.

Presenter: Josh Gorham, Public Health Nurse, SHIP Coordinator, St. Louis County Public Health Division

pathVu: Pedestrian Wayfinding for People with Disabilities

This presentation is part of the Designing for Inclusive Health panel.

This presentation will discuss an innovative pedestrian wayfinding tool in development by pathVu.  Typical pedestrian navigation does not focus on accessibility and generally do not take into account features like sidewalk or curb ramp location.  pathVu navigation is built for people with disabilities to ensure a safe and accessible trip.  You will also learn about the different tools, apps, and standards used to collect the important data that goes into this wayfinding.  This is a presentation you won’t want to miss!

Presenter: Eric Sinagra, CEO, pathVu

Brian Knudsen

Brian Knudsen is Research Associate at Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC).  His quantitative data analysis, GIS mapping, and research reports supports PRRAC’s ongoing advocacy work, especially in the areas of housing mobility, AFFH and housing policy.  Brian’s research has been published in venues such as Urban Affairs Review and Annals of the Association of American Geographers.  Brian previously served as a research analyst at the National Association of Counties. He received his B.S. and Ph. D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Kathy Mouacheupao

Kathy Mouacheupao is the Program Officer for Creative Placemaking with the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (TC LISC), supporting community organizations to develop arts and cultural strategies for community economic development throughout the Twin Cities.  In 2011, she was a Bush Leadership Fellow and researched the Hmong diaspora with a focus on the arts. Before the Fellowship, Kathy was the Executive Director for the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT). She has been hosting HmongFM on KFAI Community Radio since 2007 and currently serves on the boards of Hmong Museum and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). She also serves on the Saint Paul Planning Commission.

Soap Lake to Sulphur Springs: Small Towns Improve Walkability

This presentation is part of the Walking and Walkability in Rural Communities panel.

From Eufaula, Alabama, to Soap Lake, Washington… From Canton, Connecticut, to Sulphur Springs, Texas:  Small towns across the United States have demonstrated that walking and active transportation are not just for the big cities. The National Physical Activity Society has twice published single-page features on towns of 25,000 or fewer people. Collecting these 15 stories, we’ve found common threads. Want to promote walkability in your small town? Glean tips from small town leaders who have learned what they needed to do to succeed.

PresenterPam Eidson, MEd, PAPHS, Executive Director, National Physical Activity Society

Show me the Money! Funding for First/ Last Mile Connections to Transit.

This presentation is part of the Designing and Engineering for Safety and Connectivity session.

This presentation will talk about funding of First and Last Mile Connections (FLMC) to transit study and how to use research and data to advance pedestrian and transit policy. WalkDenver’s Founder Gosia Kung will talk about “Denver Deserves Sidewalks” campaign and how WalkDenver successfully advocated for sidewalk funding in Denver’s city budget. And because every transit rider is a pedestrian and transit is a natural extension of pedestrian trips, the presentation will discuss how walking advocates can represent transit riders.

Presenters: Gosia Kung, Founder and Executive Director, WalkDenver

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Hey, I’m Walking Here!

This presentation is part of the Planning for a Connected, Healthy and Active Future session.

New York City has always been a city of walkers. We walk because of our historic development and transit patterns, because of necessity and many of us walk for pleasure and for health. But New York City’s pedestrians have always had to fight for their space on the street, especially as car ownership became common and street design prioritized vehicular movement. In the last decade, New York City has worked to rebalance the scales and promote active transportation and complete streets. This presentation will include a detailed look at how the Pedestrian Projects Group has improved pedestrian accessibility, safety and health outcomes.

Presenter: Heidi Wolf, Deputy Director,  New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Pedestrian Projects Group

Download a Copy of the Presentation Here

 

Working at the intersection of cycling and social justice

Photo by: Serena Liu

“The bike is second to me. The bike is a tool for social justice,” says Tamika Butler, the executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who considers safe, accessible, dignified opportunities for active transportation critical to addressing social inequities.

Butler, who took the helm of the organization is 2014, defies many stereotypes of active transportation advocacy, a realm often associated with privileged white men.

“I’m a queer, gender-nonconforming woman of color, and that’s the lens through which I see my work,” Butler recalls telling the board of directors of the bicycle coalition when they (Butler’s preferred pronoun) interviewed for the job. “If I take this job,” Butler advised the future employers, “this is going to be a social justice organization.”

Photo by: Serena Liu

A Stanford-trained lawyer disenchanted by the prospect of a traditional legal career, Butler worked in social justice advocacy before assuming the helm of the bike coalition. The move was precipitated not very long before by a doctor’s warning about the need for more exercise to stem significant weight gain after a move from the Bay Area to the car-dependent City of Angels. On the advice of a friend, Butler bought a bike, a decision that would turn out to be life-changing.

America Walks is thrilled to count Butler among the exciting speakers appearing at the 2017 National Walking Summit in St. Paul September 13-15. Butler’s talk will be one of several sessions to address growing concerns about equity in the active transportation movement.

Read more about Butler’s story here.  

Early bird registration for the conference is open through July 15th. Register now to join Tamika at the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

 

What is a Walking School Bus, and How Can it Enhance My SRTS Program?

This presentation is part of the Walking School Bus session.

Communities across the nation are implementing Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs to improve safety conditions and increase the number of students walking to and from school. Starting and sustaining a walking school bus (WSB) can improve student safety, walking accessibility and SRTS program visibility. This session will provide an overview of the value and purpose of a WSB to a SRTS program, key components to begin a program, and resources available to accomplish program implementation and goals.

Presenter: Kate Moening, Field Services Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

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Meet Featured Speaker Tamika Butler

© Serena Grace Photo

This is an interview with Tamika Butler, executive director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition and featured speaker at the 2017 National Walking Summit.

It seems there has historically been some tension between those working to advocate for pedestrians and those working to advocate for bicyclists. Have you encountered this in your own work and what do you think we can do about it? Why do you think it’s important bicycle advocates also promote walkability and vice versa? 

I came to this advocacy world with very little knowledge about what had been happening in it. Since I’ve been at the bike coalition, I think we’ve tried very hard to talk about walking and biking, even as even internally there’s been some pushback. I’ve really said we have to be more open, we have to bring people in, not exclude people, because we are in this together, and I think it’s important to view things that way. There are definitely times when we have to function as distinct groups (as in when certain infrastructure proposals affect people who walk and bicycle disparately), but I do think we’re stronger together and I’ve been lucky enough to enter the movement (Butler started working at the L.A. Bicycle Coalition in December 2014) at a time when I think people are getting that and getting the intersections.

Few places are more synonymous with the car than L.A.  Less well-known are some of the really important strides being made there in active and public transportation. Can you talk a little about what it’s like working in active transportation advocacy in L.A. in particular? Are there any accomplishments or advances made in recent years about which you’re particularly proud? 

L.A. is a car-centric city and that’s what a lot of people see us as. When you Google pictures of L.A. you see cars on the freeway. But there’s another part of L.A.’s history and present that’s all about walking and biking. It kind of feels like we’re in this special moment where all the forces that we need to are aligning. And as advocates we really have to push because there’s been a lot of plans and now we need to work toward implementation.

Butler points to recent achievements including L.A.’s designation as a Vision Zero city; the hiring of transportation czar Seleta Reynolds, who arrived in L.A. from San Francisco, has a strong record of promoting safe walking and bicycling, and is tasked with implementing a plan aimed at doubling the number of bicyclists and dramatically expanding transportation choice in the city; active transportation allies serving on the L.A. City Council; and the passage of Measure M, a transportation sales tax approved by voters in 2016 that will for the first time set aside dedicated funding for active transportation. Butler singles out in particular among the projects that stand to benefit from the ballot measure the L.A. River greenway project, a yet-to-be-completed 51-mile multi-use path stretching between L.A. and Long Beach.

Butler likes to tell the story of a longtime bicycle coalition member who several years ago stopped a woman on the street because she was riding a bike, seemed to be approximately the same size as his ex-girlfriend, and, given that she was a bicyclist, thought she might be interested in the bicycle he’d bought for his ex before their breakup. She was, and the two strangers ignored any apprehensions that might normally occur to two people finding themselves in this situation and headed to his house to check out the bike. “There were so few people you would see out biking that when you saw another person out biking you were like, ‘You’re ok.’ Butler explained. Today, the sense of instant friendship with anyone else on a bike has eroded a bit thanks to the growth in L.A.’s cycling ranks. “It’s been a really big cultural shift here and we’re really excited about it.”

You have a law degree and a background in working to advance social justice. How did you find your way to active transportation advocacy? 

I’ve always seen myself as a social justice advocate. I didn’t love being a lawyer, and I actually left law to work at a public health organization, and after that I worked at a foundation that helps boys and men of color. Biking was something I got into after I moved into L.A. in 2012 or 2011 (from the Bay Area). A doctor told me I had gained a lot of weight, probably from spending so much more time than I was used to in my car, and I needed to get active. I had a friend who biked and she convinced me to buy one of my own and shortly after that, I started riding with her. Up until this time, I hated the city of L.A., largely because of how much time I was spending stuck in my car, but the second I got on a bike, I could actually slow down and see how amazing many of the communities are here…I could be in the mountains, I could be at the beach, and I could do all that in one day, powered by myself. And as a result, I really started of fall in love with the city. As it turns out, the same friend who convinced me to buy a bike was the same friend who introduced me to my girlfriend who is now my wife. That friend was also a member of the bike coalition, and when they announced they were looking for an executive director, she sent me the announcement and encouraged me to apply for the job.

© Serena Grace Photo

How does your social equity lens continue to influence your current work? 

When I applied for the job, I said to the board, ‘I’m a queer, gender nonconforming woman of color, and that’s the lens through which I see my work and if I take this job, this is going to be a social justice organization.’ I think for me, as a person who lives at the intersections, it’s impossible not to see the intersections in the work. I think the intersections were always here and I love that they’re here and I’ve just been really able to highlight them and talk about them more. There have been people in the transportation world doing this for a really, really long time and I’m just following in their footsteps.

In terms of how this translates to coalition policy and initiatives, Butler describes making a concerted effort to “push boundaries” and to place the needs of low-income people and people of color at the forefront of the coalition’s work.

The bike is second to me. The bike is a tool for social justice.

What is one thing you’re looking forward to doing, seeing, or exploring in St. Paul? 

I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska so I’m a Midwest kid. I’ve been (to the Twin Cities) a few times with family and know a lot about the area, but never really been on my own as a full-fledged adult, so that’s exciting. We just had a big park equity summit here put on by an organization called the L.A. Neighborhood Land Trust that was awesome, awesome, awesome. We were there as a transportation organization, but to see how folks talked about parks and talked about active transportation and walking and biking and the overlap was really pretty cool. And one of the other things that made it cool was the keynote by Jayne Miller, the superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. She gave this awesome talk about how so many people, way more than in L.A., can just walk out of their front door and be within walking distance of a park, so I’m actually really excited to just take a walk in a park when I’m there.

 

 

 

 

Walk, Run or Roll: Innovative Ways to Encourage Active Living

This presenter is part of the Livable Communities for All Ages panel.

AARP is invested in supporting active and healthy living in communities across the country. Whether it is organizing walking clubs, hosting street and sidewalk audits, reimagining a city block or encouraging neighborhood walking tours, AARP is working at the local level to support all generations in living their best lives.

Presenter: Jason Tudor, AICP, Office of Community Engagement, AARP

Stepping Out for Pedestrian Health and Safety

This presentation is part of the Designing and Engineering for Safety and Connectivity session.

In 2016 and 2017, as part of its commitment to helping build safer and more livable communities, ITE has introduced a number of initiatives to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity. This presentation will touch on several of these initiatives, including the ITE Vision Zero Task Force and associated Safety Resources Toolbox, as well as ITE’s Transportation and Health Task Force. The goal of these initiatives is to underscore the importance of a long-term focus on safety and active transportation, and to serve as a principal resource for transportation professionals wanting to ensure a safe and equitable community environment.

Presenter: Steven Lavrenz, Ph.D.; Technical Programs Specialist; Institute of Transportation Engineers

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This is How We Roll

This presentation is part of the Walking and Walkability in Rural Communities panel.

In 2015, the CDC released a report stating that 1 in 5 adults live with a disability or approximately 53 million people (of those, 13% reported a mobility disability).   For people with disabilities, one of the biggest obstacle to participating in our community is the built environment. This is a huge segment of the population that should be present during the planning phases of “inclusive” communities.  This presentation will help identify organizations and strategies for including people with disabilities into all facets of community life.

Presenter: Billy Altom, Executive Director of APRIL, the Association of Programs for Rural Independing Living

CASHS Makes Active Transportation a Reality in Rural Minnesota

This presentation is part of the Walking and Walkability in Rural Communities panel.

Rural communities have a reputation for being auto-centric and New Ulm, MN, is no exception. However, within just two years a cross-sector coalition has changed how the entire community views active transportation while making physical and cultural changes that will be sustained for years to come. This poster documents how New Ulm’s Coalition for Safe, Active, and Healthy Streets (CASHS) came to be and the sustainable impact it has made in the community and share lessons learned along the way.

Presenter: Cindy Winters, Project Manager, Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project

Measuring the Impact of Complete Streets

This presentation is part of the “From the Ground Up: How the Built Environment Influences Community Health” session.

Learn about the features of a complete street project in the downtown core of a mid-size rural Minnesota community.  Understand the methodology and results of a multi-year study to measure the impact of the complete street design on the local economy, overall safety of the downtown corridor, and business leader perspectives on the project.

Presenters

  • Jessica Peterson, Health Educator, Horizon Public Health
  • Joanne Moze, Senior Program Evaluator, BCBS’s Center for Prevention

Download the Presentation Here

Community Connectivity: Nationally Connected, Locally Invested

This presentation is part of the Designing and Engineering for Safety and Connectivity session.

The Community Connectivity Program transportation program, seeks to improve accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians in urban, suburban and rural community centers.  These community centers serve as a place where people can meet for social, educational, employment and recreational activities.  The primary goal of the Program is to make conditions safer and more accommodating for pedestrians and cyclists, thereby encouraging more people to use these healthy and environmentally sustainable modes of travel. At the same time, these improvements will make community centers more attractive and livable places to live and work.

Presenters:

  • Jeff Maxtutis, Senior Transportation Manager, AECOM

  • Patrick Zapatka, Community Connectivity Program Manager (Transportation Planner II / SRTS Coordinator), Connecticut Department of Transportation

Download a Copy of the Presentation

Mayor Christopher B. Coleman

Mayor File ColorChristopher B. Coleman became the Mayor of Saint Paul in 2005 after several years serving on the Saint Paul City Council and doing integral work as a leader within his neighborhood and community. Immediately after taking office, the Mayor set forth on a journey to revitalize the City of Saint Paul, with the ultimate goal of making his hometown the most livable city in America.

The people of Saint Paul have supported Mayor Coleman’s goals and initiatives, reelecting him twice and allowing for ground-breaking projects to unfold, including the creation of the “Green Line,” or the Central Corridor light rail line through downtown Saint Paul and University Avenue, as well as championing a downtown bicycle loop, bringing a brand new Minor League baseball stadium to Lowertown, budgeting over $30 million to improve the city’s roads and infrastructure, and taking a leadership role in advocating for new roads and infrastructure funding options for cities across Minnesota.

Mayor Coleman is also a large proponent of lifting up the people of Saint Paul, focusing on strong police and fire departments to make residents feel safe, and on racial equity and educational programs to close the achievement gap and better prepare the next generation of residents.

Understanding that the future and current success of Saint Paul depends on our ability to equip our students with the tools for success from cradle to career, Mayor Coleman has introduced revolutionary programs such as Sprockets that focuses on how our students spend their crucial time outside of the classroom. Mayor Coleman has assembled the best minds and resources to enrich the lives of children by extending social and academic opportunities beyond the school day, opening new doors of opportunity to a better life and creating a safe environment for them to live and play.

He has also been an advocate for making sustainable living easy and attainable for Saint Paul residents. Just after taking office in 2006, Mayor Coleman signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and has hired sustainability, energy, environment, sustainable transportation and water resources coordinators. The city’s sustainable investments include retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, equipping public places with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and implementing single-sort recycling.

Having served as both Vice President and President of the National League of Cities, Mayor Coleman has been able to learn about what’s working in cities across the country, and has brought that innovation and revitalization to the City of Saint Paul, allowing his national outlook to truly make Saint Paul the most livable city in America.

Mayor Coleman and his wife Connie live in Saint Paul, where they raised their two children, Molly and Aidan. Mayor Coleman has lived in multiple Saint Paul neighborhoods including Frogtown and Saint Paul’s West Side.

 

Tamika Butler

Photo by: Serena Liu

Photo by: Serena Liu

Tamika is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles. Prior to her role there, Tamika joined the Los Angeles Count Bicycle Coalition staff as the Executive Director in December 2014. Prior to leading LACBC Tamika was the Director of Social Change Strategies at Liberty Hill Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s boys and men of color program and the foundation’s LGBTQ grant strategy. Before Liberty Hill, Tamika worked at Young Invincibles as the California Director. As the CA Director, she was responsible for the development of all of Young Invincibles’ programs in California. Tamika was responsible for building out Young Invincibles’ operations on the West Coast and grew the office to the largest regional office outside of their DC headquarters. She transitioned to policy work after litigating for three years as an employment lawyer at Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.

She received her J.D. in 2009 from Stanford Law School, and in 2006 received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Tamika currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Literary, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, and New Leaders Council – Los Angeles, and is an advisory board member for the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports program.

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris_ Head-shot

Glenn Harris is the President of the new Race Forward and Publisher of Colorlines. The new Race Forward is the union of two leading racial justice non-profit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), where Glenn served as President starting in 2014. The new Race Forward will build on the work of both organizations to advance racial justice.

Glenn brings to the new Race Forward over 25 years of experience working on issues of race and social justice—working with community groups, foundations, and government agencies dedicated to building a more just and democratic society.

Prior to the new Race Forward and CSI, Glenn worked as the Manager of the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), whose mission is to end institutionalized racism in City government and promote multiculturalism and full participation by all residents. Glenn has supported the start of similar initiatives in jurisdictions across the country, and helped to found the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE).

Glenn came to city government after serving five years as Development Director at Western States Center, an intermediary that provides technical assistance, training, research, and policy analysis in an eight-state region to grassroots organizations working to achieve social change. Glenn also served as the Interim-Director at the MRG Foundation in Portland, Oregon.

 Glenn is currently a board member of the Philanthropic Initiative on Racial Equity (PRE), the Willamette Valley Law Project, and the City Parks Alliance.

A prolific speaker and trainer, Glenn has helped hundreds of organizations across the country center racial equity in their work.

George C. Halvorson

George Halvorson is Chair and CEO of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding. He has served for more than 30 years as CEO of six different health care delivery and financing organizations in the U.S., and he helped start similar health care organizations in several other countries. Halvorson served for more than a decade as Chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, beginning that role in 2002.

Halvorson is currently Chair of the First 5 Commission for Children and Families for the State of California. In 2013 Governor Jerry Brown appointed Halvorson to a four-year term as Chair, and then re-appointed him to another four years in 2017. The Commission uses roughly $500 million each year — raised from tobacco taxes — to provide support and education to children in California from birth to 5 years old.

Halvorson is a member of the Right Start Commission for Children in the State of California, and an advisory council member for the Too Small To Fail Commission. He currently serves as a member of the CEO Advisory Council for the Ready Nation coalition.

The Institute for InterGroup Understanding works on issues of racism, prejudice, discrimination, misogyny, and InterGroup stress and conflict. Halvorson has written four books on those topics, which are all available as teaching materials from the Institute.

Electronic versions of the InterGroup books can be downloaded or read directly from the Institute for InterGroup Understanding website at no charge. (Hard copies of the books are available at Amazon.com.)

The books and the Institute website explain how our instinctive behaviors steer us into conflict in various intergroup settings, and outline and explain the steps we should take to create intergroup Peace.

Halvorson recently revised The Art of InterGroup Peace — his book on achieving intergroup peace around the world — into its Third Edition, which can be downloaded for free at the Institute for InterGroup Understanding website.

Three Key Years, one of Halvorson’s most recent titles, is paramount to early childhood education, and explains the importance of positive interactions between caring adults and infants in their first three years of life. Halvorson also designed threekeyyears.org, a website dedicated to educating new parents on the simple steps they should take in a child’s first three years to improve their lives forever.

Harlem Health Advocacy Partners Resident-Led Walking Groups for Health!

This presentation is part of the It Takes a Village: Vital Elements of a Healthy Community session.

The New York City Health Department’s HHAP program has created enduring and sustainable walking groups for public housing residents of East and Central Harlem. The session will provide a program overview that describes the current health inequities in the neighborhood, the formation of the walking groups and strategies used to transform program-led groups to resident-owned, socially engaging walking groups and success stories from participants. Best practices and lessons learned will be shared to inspire other placed-based initiatives to (1) motivate participants to view walking as an inexpensive way to stay active (2) realize the benefits of participants socializing and (3) create ownership for long-term sustainability.

Presenter: Sindia Avila, Community Health Worker, Harlem Health Advocacy Partners; a program from East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center, Center for Health Equity, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Download a Copy of the Presentation Here

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Engaged and Informed

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities make sure that every member has the opportunity and resources needed to be part of the process in creating and planning for safe, accessible and enjoyable walking conditions for all. This path will look at the programs, policies, data sources and tools available to advocates to work to engage and inform government officials, businesses and organizations to promote walking and walkability efforts in their communities. It will examine how when individual advocates or organizations come together, they are more powerful and influential. It will highlight new models of engagement, how technology is changing the conversations and how to plan now for a sustainable future. Participants of this path will leave the Summit equipped to advocate for walkable communities with decision-makers and other community members.

These sessions will:

  • Demonstrate how individual advocates can engage and inform the decision-making process in creating walkable communities for all.
  • Share tools, resources, data, and techniques available to help inform decision-makers on the power of walkability.
  • Provide new information, data and resources that have been developed since the 2015 National Walking Summit that should be shared with the walking movement.

Featured sessions in this path include:

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Open and Collaborative

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities work to bring together partners and community members from a broad range of sectors and backgrounds. These partnerships and the work that they do are open to all community members, all sectors and all backgrounds. Walkable communities are communities where all people come together to create positive change for all members through thoughtful discussions, systemic changes and community participation. They are communities where the people who are effected by change are the change makers. This path will look at how to form collaborations and examples of successful partnerships that bring together all members of a community to create lasting change. This path will grapple with the authentic conversations sometimes needed to create collaboration between very diverse groups and very entrenched systems. Participants of this path will leave the Summit with the tools and information needed to forge new partnerships and engage individuals in sectors outside of the walking movement.

These sessions will:

  • Demonstrate the success and power of creating collaborations and partnerships to achieve goals of the walking movement.
  • Share examples of successful and creative partnerships and collaborations to achieve community objectives,
  • Provide techniques and trainings on ways to engage new partners and develop collaborations.

Featured sessions in this path include:

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Productive and Thriving

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities are places that are continuing to grow and develop physically, socially, sustainably, and economically. This path will look at the power behind walkable communities, focusing on the economic and social benefits that come when walkable communities are available to all members. These economic benefits include those experienced by families, businesses and municipalities. This path will look at the synergy between walkable communities, equitable development, and affordable housing, and examine how walkable communities thrive, produce value and offer opportunities that strengthen and protect communities from the cycles of free markets. Participants of this path will leave the Summit with the data and resources that demonstrate the economic strength and viability of increasing walking and walkability to create and sustain vital and vibrant communities.

These sessions will:

  • Demonstrate the power of walkable communities in creating thriving downtowns, vibrant main streets and dynamic economies of all shape and sizes.
  • Share community, state and national level benefits of the walking movement to economic strength and stability.
  • Demonstrate how walkable communities create new development and opportunities for productivity.
  • Understand the multiple levels and types of economic benefits that safe, walkable places can create

Featured sessions in this path include:

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Artistic and Innovative

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities are places where art and innovation are encouraged and enabled and diverse cultural expression is celebrated. Addressing issues in new and creative ways, while honoring cultural heritage, can help inform and change the built environment, individual behavior and community engagement. The use of art, music, technology and creative problem-solving have all become valuable resources to the walking movement. This path will look at how art and innovation come together to create communities that continue to tackle challenges in new and exciting ways. Participants of this path will leave the Summit equipped with the latest resources and strategies available and be encouraged to develop their own innovative ways to create walkable communities. 

These sessions will:

  • Provide new tools, technology, and techniques that have helped to move the walking movement forward in its success.
  • Share success stories of out-of-the-box thinking, culturally unique ideas, and techniques that have promoted walking and walkable communities.
  • Demonstrate how creativity, art and other place elements can help promote healthy communities.

Featured sessions in this path include:

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Community Designed and Safe

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities are places where functionality is not determined by the number of cars on a street but by the safety, accessibility and opportunities to move for all users. This path will look at the policies, programs and resources that exist to create built environments that reflect the priorities of all users and that take conscious steps to provide environments where all people have access to safe, adequate transportation, affordable housing, enjoyable play opportunities and the infrastructure to support them. We will examine disparities created by unfair resource allocation, existing mechanisms to address them, and how communities who have not enjoyed such benefits are overcoming challenges and creating vital and vibrant places. Participants of this path will leave the Summit with the resources and knowledge about community design and transportation policies and practices needed to make every community a community that is designed for the benefit all users.

These sessions will:

  • Demonstrate programs, policies and techniques available to promote safe, accessible and available active transportation and smart placemaking.
  • Share success stories of projects, programs and/or communities that have worked to assess and change the physical environment to better prioritize community members visions and aspirations for where and how they live.
  • Provide information on the benefits that come from making changes to the built environment to achieve walkability.

Feature sessions in this path include:

Vital and Vibrant Communities Are Healthy For All

Please click here to view the program for the 2017 National Walking Summit. 

Vital and vibrant communities are places where the health of every community member is prioritized and health disparities are actively addressed. This path will look at the policies, programs and resources available to promote environments and activities that encourage physically, mentally and socially healthy behavior for all. This path will also tackle the difficult conversations that come when we are faced with the reality that where an individual lives is a major determinant to the length and quality of life. Participants of this path will leave the Summit with resources and knowledge to help transform communities into healthy, livable spaces for all members by promoting walking as a form of inclusive physical activity and walkable communities as spaces for every community member to be active.

These sessions will:

  • Showcase programs, policies and techniques available to promote healthy communities and physical activity through the promotion of walking and walkability.
  • Share success stories of projects, programs and/or communities that have taken steps to improve physical, mental or social health through walking or walkability.
  • Provide information on a broad range of benefits of walkable communities supported by current research and health indicators.

Featured sessions in this path include:

America Walks Walk the Hill Day Briefing Materials

Join leaders and organizers from around the nation to deliver the message that we need safe, accessible communities so that everyone can walk. The Walk the Hill Day, organized by America Walks, will start with an issues and advocacy training, and then participants will Walk the Hill to deliver our message and advocate for specific legislative requests. To prepare you for this exciting day, below find an informational webinar on the current issues on the ground in Washington DC and other resources to get ready to pave the road for a walkable America.

Offices Visited by 2015 Walk the Hill Day Advocates

WTHD Meetings Map_Page_2

Resources

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (Luncheon Speaker)

Secretary Foxx Official PortraitWe are pleased to be have Secretary Antony Foxx speak at Thursday’s luncheon. We will hear first hand about his commitment to creating safe and accessible walking conditions for every American.

At the Department of Transportation, Secretary Anthony Foxx is working relentlessly to lead the world in building a 21st century infrastructure designed to give businesses and people a competitive economic advantage and a better quality of life.  

As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation.  His primary goal is to ensure that America maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world. Foxx joined the U.S. Department of Transportation after serving as the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2009 to 2013.  During that time, he made efficient and innovative transportation investments the centerpiece of Charlotte’s job creation and economic recovery efforts.  Foxx is an attorney and has spent much of his career in private practice.  He received a law degree from New York University’s School of Law as a Root-Tilden Scholar, the University’s prestigious public service scholarship.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Davidson College

Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy (Luncheon Keynote)

vadm-murthy2We are pleased that America’s Doctor, United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, will deliver the lunch keynote address on Thursday, October 29th.

Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. As “America’s Doctor,” he is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal and public health. Dr. Murthy also oversees operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation and our world.

For the past two decades, Dr. Murthy has devoted himself to improving public health through the lenses of service, clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered a love for the art of healing early in his childhood while spending time at his father’s medical clinic in Miami. After earning his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale, he completed residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he later joined the faculty as an internal medicine physician and instructor. As a clinician-educator, Dr. Murthy has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students.

When he was 17 years old, Dr. Murthy and his sister co-founded VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India and the U.S, which he led for eight years. He also co-founded the Swasthya project (“health and wellbeing” in Sanskrit), a community health partnership in rural India designed to train women to be health providers and educators. Dr. Murthy also has conducted research on vaccine development and studied the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. He is a healthcare entrepreneur who launched a successful software technology company, TrialNetworks, to improve research collaboration and enhance the efficiency of clinical trials around the world. Most recently, Dr. Murthy served as the president of Doctors for America, a non-profit organization comprised of more than 16,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states who work with patients and policymakers to build a high quality, affordable healthcare system for all.

Dr. Murthy firmly believes that our nation’s greatest asset has always been its people. Building a stronger, healthier America is his highest priority as the U.S. Surgeon General.

Misty Tripoli (Evening MC)

MistyHeadshotOn Thursday evening, Misty Tripoli, will MC the After Hours Move & Groove. Misty is one of the world’s most innovative and engaging teachers, choreographers, and mind body connection specialists. She uses her passion and creativity to inspire people to move their bodies in ways they never thought possible. Misty travels the globe teaching and inspiring positive global change through movement, music and truth. With over 25 years of experience, Misty is well-known for her revolutionary and simple approach to dance and fitness that ripen the mind body connection and explode with her passion for self-discovery, creative movement and self-expression.

Misty has been touted as one of the most innovative, controversial and influential instructors of our time. She uses her passion and creativity to inspire people to move their bodies in ways they never thought possible.

 

Ron Sims (Closing Keynote)

50ec3f_2fdd95e1d77a4a87ba194bd780cedf9a.jpg_srz_p_350_414_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzRon Sims will close the 2015 National Walking Summit with his keynote address, “Bring It Home.” Mr. Sims is a civic volunteer active in health, education, environmental and social equity issues. Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee, Sims serves as the chair of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board. The board is responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Washington State. Mr. Sims also serves on the Board of Regents, the university’s governing body, of Washington State University and the Board of Directors of the Washington Health Alliance, formerly the Puget Sound Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization he helped found where employers, physicians, hospitals, patients, health plan providers and others from throughout the region come together to improve health care quality.

 Sims served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009-2011. He was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims managed the day-to-day operations of an agency with 8,500 employees and an operating budget of nearly $40 billion.

Prior to his appointment at HUD, Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County in Washington State, the 13th largest county in the nation with 1.8 million residents and 39 cities including the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. As County Executive, Sims was nationally recognized for his work on the integration of environmental, social equity and public health policies that produced groundbreaking work on climate change, health care reform, affordable housing, mass transit, environmental protection, land use, and equity and social justice.

Dr. Robert Bullard (Opening Keynote)

Robert Bullard, the founder of the environmental justice center, talks about some of his projects while in his office on the Clark Atlanta University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004. When Bullard formed the center he noticed that the majority groups that rely on the city's public transit system never joined forces to protest the agency's policies. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)Dr. Robert Bullard will open the 2015 National Walking Summit with his keynote address, “Is Walking a Right?” Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. Professor Bullard received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.  He has testified as an expert witness and served as a technical advisor on hundreds of civil rights lawsuits and public hearings over the past three decades. In 1990, he was the first environmental justice scholar to receive the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Conservation Achievement Award in Science for “Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality.”

Dr. Bullard’s works include his book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality, which is a standard text in the environmental justice field. His most recent books include Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity, Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity, and The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Power, and the Politics of Place. His latest books include Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Environmental Health and Racial Equality in the United States: Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities, and The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities.