Public Advocates is one of the creators and leading members of the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network, a bold group of strategic allies from social justice, faith, public health and environmental organizations across the Bay Area. We are the region’s only collaborative focused on targeting and shaping how regional planning decisions will affect struggling working families in the Bay Area for decades to come.
Our goal? Break the long-standing patterns of segregation, sprawl and health risks that plague the Bay Area, including:
- Low-income families lack the level of reliable and affordable transit they need to get to school, work and the grocery store every day.
- Homes in urban and suburban areas with good access to jobs — such as San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Oakland and the Tri-Valley — are increasingly unaffordable, resulting in marginalized communities being excluded from some high-opportunity places while being displaced from others.
- Gentrification and displacement threaten deeply-rooted communities both in the Bay Area’s historic urban core and in smaller cities and towns, disrupting people’s lives, destabilizing community networks, diluting political and voting power, decreasing proximity to jobs and transit, and fueling a growing wave of suburban poverty.
- Unhealthy environments — from poor air quality to unsafe streets and sidewalks — hold people all over the region back. But they are often the worst in low-income communities that currently lack political and economic clout.
Stopping this cycle of inequity is doable. But we need to act now, and act together.
What Are the “6 Wins”?
Change starts with a clear vision. We seek “6 wins” that will improve the daily lives of low-income Bay Area residents:
- Frequent, reliable and affordable bus service connects us to education, employment, health care, and other critical opportunities, plus free youth bus passes.
- Affordable housing in areas including suburbs and near transit will give low-income communities access to more jobs, good schools and healthy neighborhoods.
- Investment without displacement ensures that transportation projects serve existing low-income communities, rather than forcing them from their homes.
- Quality jobs in communities struggling with high unemployment and low wages will provide future prosperity for those most in need.
- Healthy and safe communities can bring relief to the lungs of families living next to busy freeways, ports and oil refineries. Transportation investment must not, as in the past, provide all the benefits to affluent communities while pollution and other burdens fall on low-income families.
- Community power for low-income communities of color in decision-making processes will ensure that transportation investments and regional planning serve the needs of these communities.
How Are We Getting There?
We formed the 6 Wins Network to seize a unique opportunity. SB 375, passed in 2008, required metropolitan regions in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by planning future housing, job growth and transit investments closer together, so we aren’t driving as much.
In the Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are responsible for the regional blueprint required by SB 375. Their plan, called “Plan Bay Area,” will determine how nearly $300 billion in public transportation money will be spent through 2040. The plan will also influence how and where the region will house the 2.1 million new residents projected to live here by 2040.
The question motivating our engagement was this: Would the result of Plan Bay Area truly help to create one Bay Area — equal in opportunity and health? Or would it perpetuate a region of many Bay Areas, segregated by unequal access to transit and housing options, and subjected to unfairly distributed environmental and health burdens, such as air pollution?
Learn more about what the 6 Wins Network is doing to create one Bay Area for all here.
Read David Zisser’s blog from December 2016 here.