Today, The Redford Center released the fourth film as part of a five part series showcasing unity and community power in a collective call for civic engagement around clean transportation to build a healthier, more just future for all.
The Film entitled Community Power New Jersey: Our Streets is directed by Trenton-based filmmaker Adam Nawrot and produced by Sonia Szczesna. It illustrates how the community of Trenton channeled its collective power to advocate for everyone’s right to safe and accessible streets, clean transportation, and community resources.
“It’s a glimpse into something that’s happening in communities throughout the country as people have begun to challenge the status quo and demand that transportation systems serve people rather than the movement of vehicles,” said producer, Sonia Szczesna. “What’s exciting is that Trenton’s story is not unique and individuals anywhere can come together to make changes to their streets.”
As part of The Redford Center’s ongoing civic engagement initiatives, the 2021-22 Community Power short film series, in collaboration with the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa, spotlights stories that shift perceptions on what it means to be an environmentalist and a voter. Community Power films respond to the urgent need for all Americans to be concerned about environmental injustice.
The stories speak to the heart of addressing centuries of environmental inequities – all during a critical moment when historic policy investments in clean transportation, jobs, and justice are being made.
“The people of Trenton, New Jersey have set a bold example of what is possible when people come together and build power for their community in the face of challenging circumstances. They are advocating for and winning active transportation infrastructure that is reshaping their streets, while building in support systems to make it easy for all community members to choose to bike or walk,” said Jill Tidman, Executive Director of The Redford Center. “This is grassroots organizing in action. It is also a beautiful and powerful example of community care and connection leading us toward the environmentally just future that we all need and deserve.”
In the US, nearly half of all trips are shorter than three miles, or a 20-minute bike ride, and at least 20% of trips are within a 20-minute walk. Cycling activists Jacque Howard, Shereyl Snider, and Wills Kinsley are on a mission to solve Trenton, New Jersey’s car-centric design and give its streets back to the community.
Working alongside historically excluded communities, this Trenton collective has activated bicycle infrastructure development, implemented traffic calming measures, created bike repair shops, and inspired community education and unity. These efforts might seem like small steps, but they quickly add up to show the rest of the world the possibility and impact of community action for safe streets, clean transportation, and environmental justice.
Wills Kinsley, Director of Operations of Trenton Cycling Revolution added “If you want to ride to work, school or for fun, it helps if your bike actually works – and Trenton Cycling Revolution’s Community Outreach Garage (the COG) is where you can learn how to make that happen.”
Additional short films in the Community Power series will continue to be released by The Redford Center over the coming months, spotlighting local, clean transportation stories from states across the U.S. Each film will invite the public to become civically active on issues of clean energy, justice, and jobs through a free clean transportation action toolkit, connecting audiences to nonprofit and movement organizations that lead change for clean air, clean energy, justice, and jobs. The Redford Center’s Community Power series is generously supported by Far Star Action Fund and the Energy Foundation.