This weekend marks Labor Day, a day that recognizes the numerous efforts and accomplishments of the workers who make America run. Here at CicLAvia we have a number of people who work hard to make LA’s streets safer for running, walking, biking, skating, using a wheelchair, or pushing a stroller without worrying about cars. We’d like to use today’s post to introduce you to some of the faces behind CicLAvia and let you know what they do to help hundreds of thousands of you enjoy car free streets each year.
Aaron Paley - Executive Director, co-founder, cheerleader and all-around mensch. For the past five years Aaron has been the “face” of CicLAvia in media, at meetings with public officials and at our event kickoff ceremonies.
Favorite Part of the Job: Knowing that I’m working on something that is changing LA for the better.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: Everyone smiling and talking to each other, strangers breaking down barriers between themselves.
Tamara O’Connor - Associate Director, contract arranger, sponsor supporter and voice of calm and reason amidst the whirlwinds.
Favorite Part of the Job: Love “birthing” the fun and creative partnerships that come from CicLAvia — from supportive sponsors to community partners.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: I smile ear to ear when I see small businesses on (or off!) the route get really creative with unique outreach, and the smile widens when those very businesses get swamped with enthusiastic CicLAvians!
Rachel Burke - Director of Production, logistics leader, traffic control coordinator and best staff lunch restaurant finder in the open streets world.
Favorite Part of the Job: Exploring old and new neighborhoods in depth and discovering new food, shops, organizations, short cuts, and cool architecture!
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: So many happy and friendly Angelenos in one place!
Rob Gard - Director of Communications, media maven, speech wrangler and after-party activity director.
Favorite Part of the Job: Seeing the excitement and the shared sense of ownership for CicLAvia among tens of thousands of diverse people.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: The overwhelming sense of amazement on people's faces when they experience CicLAvia for the first time. Also, not something seen, but heard: the absence of cars engines, horns, squeaking brakes, etc. makes for a completely unique listening experience at CicLAvia.
Mary Hunter - Manager of Strategic Relations, partnership prospector, board liaison and keeper of the sunshine.
Favorite Part of the Job: CicLAvia has introduced me to so many awesome areas in LA, I feel like I have a cultural awaking every time.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: The overwhelming sense of community, being outside together enjoying the neighborhood sights, sounds and especially flavors. Everyone has a smile, and there's an intangible sense of joy that everyone shares.
Henny Alamillo - Volunteer Coordinator, team trainer, general of generosity and resident DJ.
Favorite Part of the Job: Volunteers having fun and smiling!
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: Front yard parties and residents along the route dancing and having fun!
Malia Schilling - Associate Producer, operational overseer, merchandise manager and kombucha evangelist.
Favorite Part of the Job: Getting to learn more about the diverse neighborhoods and communities of LA every day!
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: All the weird and wonderful ways people personalize their non-motorized transportation (shark bikes, low-riders, decorated bikes, penny farthings, wooden bikes, etc.)
Dana Variano-Comisi - Digital Engagement Specialist, Twitter tweeter, website weaver and fierce defender of skateboard rights.
Favorite Part of the Job: Getting to explore new parts of Los Angeles and the communities that make up our city. Talking with these communities about what open streets is, and can be, is really fun and rewarding.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: Families and groups of friends riding together, skating together, walking together, and smiling. Everyone's in a great mood, and it feels like it's a city-wide holiday!
Tafarai Bayne - Planning Consultant, community organizer, bridge builder and master of selfies.
Favorite Part of the Job: Experiencing all of the positive energy and witnessing how productive people seem enjoying themselves and building community.
Favorite Thing to See at CicLAvia: I love seeing neighbors/stakeholders of the route activating their space and welcoming event participants into their community. The opportunity to provide a sense of ownership for residents along the routes is extremely rewarding to me.
There are a lot more people involved in CicLAvia who we want to boast about this Labor Day, starting with our regular part-time staff:
Clarke Miranda & Jackson Lam - Outreach coordinators, advance guard and smiles on the streets.
Citlalith Perez - Communications assistant, data details and press preparation.
As we wish our CicLAvia fans a well-deserved Labor Day break, we will leave you with some of the smiling faces of the dozens of day-of staff members and hundreds of volunteers who help before, during and after each event: