A Personal Response from a Board Member – Ray Gay
On Monday, June 15 we posted a list of action items that we as a Coalition have committed to enacting to ensure our work is inclusive, anti-racist, and promotes Justice, Equity, and Diversity. One of our board members, Ray Gay posted this followup in our Coalition Facebook Group. Please read the below letter from Ray.
As someone that prefers to stick to the sidelines and not participate in this type of forum to have conversations…typing this is very uncomfortable. Some of you may agree with what I have to say but undoubtedly some of you will misjudge what I type and then, unfortunately, carry that over to misjudging me. So, please show me some grace as you (if you) read.
What is the Coalition to you? What is the Coalition to me? I imagine it’s different for all of us. Some of us like to ride on the road. Some of us like to ride in the woods. Some of us even like to do both and maybe even on the same day. Some of us want to be able to ride safely to work. Some of us want to be able to see our kids ride a bike to school. Some of us want to see everyone on a bike and some of us want it only for ourselves. Some of us like to drink an IPA after a ride. Some of us like to drink a sour after a ride. Some people are already so much fun that they only need to drink flavored water with bubbles after a ride – that’s a compliment. Some of you show up to trail work every session (not me). Some of you have never lifted a shovel on the trails you ride. Some of you organize events that make other clubs jealous. Some of you put on rides that end with ice cream. Some of you ride on Tuesdays but not Thursdays or Thursdays but not Tuesdays. Some of you ride before the sun is up and some of you ride to watch the sunset. Some of you are fully aware of the history of the Coalition and all that we have been behind and some of you don’t know. Candidly, it’s kind of funny that some of you think the Coalition has not been political in the past. The fact is, whether you like it or not we’re all different and we have different reasons to be a part of the Coalition. The Coalition is for all of us and there is room for those of you that disagree with the Board making a statement and there is room for those of you that agree with the statement.
As a member of the board and a long time member of the Coalition and the Clubs that preceded the Coalition, I fully support the Coalition in making a statement to announce that there is no place for racism in our community and that we will make an effort to make sure that we are not part of the problem. Some of you don’t think that there’s a problem and that’s your prerogative. But, I assure you that the statement was not intended as a way to divide us. The statement was intended to announce that we are open to EVERYONE and that we will make sure that truly means EVERYONE.
Nevertheless, members can come and go as they please. But, please remember that those of you that leave will continue to reap the benefits of this organization. So when you see a new trail at the Nut or in the national forest or maybe a sign that says cyclist can take the lane – you’re welcome.
Lastly, we are a volunteer organization so feel free to step up and volunteer. In fact, we recently lost our long-time volunteer that has selflessly been mailing out Massanutten trail passes and we could use some help if you’re willing to chip in and support YOUR Coalition.