Westons Recap

Thank you for being part of the magic at the Weston Awards on Friday, November 3rd. With your help, we celebrated the passion for walkability; raised over $34,000; caught up with old friends and made new ones; and had a fantastic night full of laughter and love. 

 

We had a blast playing Red Light/ Green Light, taking silly photos at the Oregon Walks Photo Booth, and raffling off trips to exotic locations. 

And we were so honored to recognize the work of incredible pedestrian advocates Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood, and Legacy Award Winner & longtime Oregon Walks board member, Steve Bozzone for their commitment to improving access to safe walking conditions for those who need them most. 

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson has been a vocal advocate for pedestrian safety for many years. In fact, she shared that it was recognizing this incredible need not being adequately met in local politics that inspired her to get involved and run for public office. She has been an advocate for social justice since high school, where, with her sister, she started a group for better understanding the experiences of students of color. 

 

Meesa Long, Lesley McKinley and Chelsea Powers represented the residents of the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood, sharing the inspiring story of how they raised over $5 million in grant money to build sidewalks and improve street conditions with an incredible grassroots campaign. Lesley celebrated their big win while reminding us that the work wasn’t done yet. “This was driven by women. This was driven by underserved people, blue-collar people, of which I am one. We’re very, very grateful, but we’re coming for your money. Do not forget these faces. We’re going to be at every meeting, we’re going to be at every budget, and we should no longer have to send 400 postcards from underserved children begging for their rights. Don’t make us do this again.”

The room erupted in happy cheers when Legacy Award Winner Steve Bozzone took the stage to except his award. Known to many as an affable yet passionate voice for justice, his friends and colleagues were excited to give him a standing ovation and recognize his year of work. Like Leslie, Steve took this opportunity to remind us how much further we still have yet to go. “It is critical that we identify and manage equity concerns early and proactively. There are so many opportunities to integrate this work into the public works of this city and I think everyone in this room has a role to play. What does this mean for our city and transportation advocacy? It means looking around the room you’re in, any room, and wondering why certain folks are not there, and not being satisfied until they are. It means when frontline community of color organizations oppose central city projects and demand equal investments in outer neighborhoods, we take a deep breath, listen, and come together to figure out a path forward. It means organizing real coalitions built on meaningful, trusting relationships. It means showing up for each other, even if it means our ideas get put on the back-burner. It means sometimes stepping back and creating space for others to lead. It means learning about our white privilege, and figuring out ways to use it to challenge white supremacy in our institutions, our social groups, and within ourselves.”

 

Celebrating our friends and their passion to make our city and world a better place is what makes the Weston Awards our favorite night of the year. We are so happy that you were able to join us this year and we can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Check out more photos from the night here.