This year, the SJ Brooks Scholarship sought to increase access to cycling opportunities specifically within Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer and transgender communities.
We are thrilled to announce that Amber Drew, Blanca Dahlin, Chantal Wadsworth, Cub Gary, Daniela Padraza , Danielle Dynes, Daria Dockery, Desiree Roberts, Elaine Musiwa, Kenya Reynolds, Landis Pulido, Lazarus Letcher, Narmine Ben Aissa, Nelly Jones, Tiffany Cogell and Zayn Acon have been awarded the 2020 SJ Brooks Scholarship.
Amber, an advocate for access to physical & mental healthcare, has worked largely with assisting clients diagnosed with and affected by chronic medical and mental health ailments to gain self-efficacy and stability. She utilizes her experience in clinical psychology in concentrated community building projects, LifeCycle Biking (a community based organization focused on emotional health promotion and community building through cycling, particularly for women/femme bodies, people of color, LGBTQIA+ bodies and low income communities) and Apogeo Collective (a pop up bed & breakfast experience for queer travelers, travelers of color and their allies). Amber intends to utilize their scholarship to host another bike ride for my target demos in Brooklyn (before the cold weather lessens our group numbers!), continue collaboration efforts on a fundraising initiative for Freedom Riders- a workforce development bike mechanic and mental health curriculum program for recently incarcerated minority young adults and women and honestly, pay some bills.
Blanca M Dahlin
He/hers/they all and none
Facebook: Blanca Dela Cruz-matias
I’m a Two Spirit, Trans, Indigenous, autistic artist doing what I can for the communities I also serve as a support worker in. This includes miscarriage, loss, abortion, end of life care, and birth work. I want to use this scholarship to further gather supplies for the unhoused encampments that have been popping up over the summer and made more intense to be in since the George Floyd protests, and to help me a with a little bit of rent as I’m immunocompromised and haven’t been able to work a 9-5 job because of covid-19 this year. I hope to further learn to be comfy on a bike as I have trauma from a bike accident early on in life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do more for my communities and to overcome my fears while also getting healthier.
My name is Chantal Wadsworth, a Diné (Navajo) woman residing on the Navajo Nation. I am passionate about being outdoors and making an impact in my Navajo communities. The Navajo reservation is massive, and there are many places that can be accessed by foot or bike. There are many areas we hold sacred to our tribe, and being able to visit these places on our great Navajo land by bike would be monumental. I’d like to use this scholarship to visit more places on the Navajo reservation by bike to show our people, we don’t need vehicles to see our beautiful homeland. We are able to do this with our own feet or by bike, and our own sheer will. A healthy lifestyle through biking can be fun for everyone and I’d like to show that.
Cub is a wanderer and wonderer who will be using their scholarship to combine their love of bikes, adventure, and sleeping outside. They’ll continue to push for more QPOC representation in Outdoor Adventure and our spot at the campfire.
ECATEPEC DE MORELOS, MX
I’m a peripheral cyclist, journalist and Otomí woman, continually searching to form self-supported projects that include bicycles, the soundscapes and feminism. The bicycle has become a project of life, a way of resistance. I’m currently working in a sound cartography of peripheral cycling women and I work in establishing an independent, inclusive and dissident media that looks to challenge the ways of doing journalist in Mexico called “Teporingx”. To receive the SJ Brooks scholarship means to be able to travel a part of the Mexican territory (south or north), document and portrait the soundscapes and the speakers of natives languages.
I’m a queer Black urban planner from Huichin (Oakland, CA). I believe in using sustainable transportation and social equity. I intend to use this scholarship to make my community more resilient through creative mutual aid projects.
Daria Dockery is a researcher-artist, and flower person who was born in Detroit and lives there now. They are in Detroit rethinking what home is, riding their bike, and calling on the land and what grows upon it to make room for them and themselves. Daria is looking toward inviting their community on small group bike rides where folks will identify and discuss the plants that are growing with us here. If you’re local to Detroit and interested in participating or supporting this effort, you can message Daria to be added to a mailing list and receive an interest form.
I’m excited to put this bike but especially the gear to use which I’ve never had. I recently have been thinking about how our thoughts/vision can be limiting and that nature can help transform that, and my bike has been one of the few outdoor things I’ve ever got the chance to connect with regularly so adding camping gives me more opportunity to honestly just feel and hopefully be better.
Elaine Musiwa is a Jersey-based cyclist who believes in the undeniable power of marginalized groups uplifting each other. As a fiction writer, her work explores relationships between women of color, primarily immigrant women, and the beautiful nuances of cultural identity. As a cyclist, long-distance rides and speed challenges are part of her process towards self-discovery. With this generous scholarship, she hopes to meet and ride with her cycling heroes in Mexico City, once COVID allows, and organize a two-day trip with other riders of color from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.
Hi, my name is Kenya Reynolds and I have been living in NYC for 6 years now. I started riding bikes as a kid, but got more heavily involved in cycling when I was in New Orleans and then later when I became a messenger. I’d really like to plan a WTF of Color bike tour, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a very long time! I’ve always been dedicated to carving out and creating safe spaces for marginalized people (especially QTPOC!) and for those of us who often don’t see ourselves reflected in the images companies use to market or that athletes who receive features.
Saludos, Greetings my name is Landis. I am a queer-chicane-indigene being, currently living on Tiwa land. I run deep with that LA blood (occupied Tongva land) and I carry my people from Ixcaquixtla to Apatzingan. I put work and intention toward unifying my collective practice of community organizing, healing justice, cultural work and movement healing. Moving this cuerpito on my bici not only uplifts my spirit, brings joy, and healing, it also has me riding with my ancestors, riding for liberation of our peoples, riding with my Cosmic Cycles crew of Burque, riding with my blood and chosen from LA to DC, riding to always honor and respect the lands I live with and on. Con calma y sin prisa mi gente. Keeping in mind this current pandemic, and revolution I see this scholarship supporting what I like to call, purposeful persistence. This would be a time to uplift my well-being, expand my and my communities cycling experience, and invest in continuous collective bike aprendizaje/learning practice with my qtibipoc community. I trust in the ways I can expand the uses of this scholarship, and that is a privilege and blessing!
Lazarus Letcher is a Black trans academic and musician living on Tiwa Pueblo land in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They will be using their scholarship to continue turning to nature for healing and helping other BIPOC folks do the same, using their bike for support at protests, and to connect with other adventurous members of the lgbtq+ community. The cash reward will help them survive and thrive as they finish their PhD and figure out next steps.
Narmine Ben Aissa
Narmine is a Mediteranean, Indigenous North African queer women from Tunisia. She is a tech and entrepreneurship enthusiast, an international computer science student and a data analyst, living in NorthWest Arkansas. Narmine believes that biking is an empowering tool for women in the STEM field and women minorities. She serves as one of the board members of GritFest, creating a mountain biking event centered around women+ and non-binary mountain bikers. Narmine loves traveling and rents a bike in every city she visits. With this scholarship, Narmine aims to inspire more women minorities into biking and specifically mountain biking through her role at GritFest and other initiatives. Narmine aims to introduce mountain biking to Tunisian women and aims to participate in the Bike & Build program to bike across the United States and build houses for affordable living.
FB: Chalene Jones
I am interested in human focused connection, community building, self defense/ protection, poetry, and indulging in food, self care, and healing practices. My intention is to buy a vehicle with this scholarship. If there is money left, I will then buy whatever tools and resources we need to do the Mobile Pop-up service. This vehicle (van or RV) will then be the vehicle that I and my partner travel through areas of the United States offering pop-up bike maintenance education, self-defense learnings, and a place to share art of all kinds. The focus will be on WTF POC, and empowering this community via bike oriented education and self defense/ protection OF our community BY our community.
DORCHESTER CENTER, MA
Bike Advocate, Social Justice Entrepreneur, Ride for Black Lives Co-organizer, Cross Cultural Collective founding member, Director of Diversity & Community Outreach at Aamodt/Plumb Architects
I would like to use my new bike to build a healing community of Black and Brown women who bike. The cash scholarship will go toward purchasing bike lights and supplies for reflective gear to give away to women in my community, to encourage them to ride ‘safely lit’ while riding at night.
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY
What up, I’m Zayn! Just your ordinary Chinese/Costa Rican QTN-B human speeding through life, one pedal at a time. I live in New York City (YERRRR) and am always down to ride with anyone in the tri-state area. During these times especially, biking has become so crucial to my everyday life. It is a form of self expression, self care, self healing, as well as an outlet for relief. Living in a now socially distant world has severely impacted human interaction and opportunity for community. With the 2020 SJ Brooks Scholarship, I will be forming a group of Queer and Trans BIPOC in the tri-state area to safely plan a long distance bike trip.