Yolanda Davis taking selfie in the back or a small group of people

Yolanda Davis-Overstreet

“I listen to my heart – even on the professional level – it is the true teacher for me!”

Donald Strauss’ continuous seeking to share what the USMA program could offer me as a community advocate and activist. His collective nature and willingness to participate in a school-based program I developed around transportation equity and advocacy – at my daughters’ middle school. Also, the USMA field trips and school site events were very insightful and triggered a strong interest within to want to know more – more of what Antioch, in fact, could offer me in this phase of my life. Upon looking more seriously into the program, I began to reimagine my life as a student and graduate. My decision to enroll in the USMA program was based on Antioch’s unconventional and activism approach in addressing our social and environmental issues.

I am continuing to address the transportation equity and mobility justice issues in communities of color, such as the neighborhood I reside in West Adams. My role is evolving as an advocate and activist as I probe into the systemic nature of how I, my family, people of color experience the open public spaces in our communities’ bicycling, walking, using public transit and alternative modes of transportation, whether it be recreational and or commuting. I care about how the established forms of generational and systemic racism coupled with disenfranchised neighborhoods- have practically cripple vast populations of color financially, physically, and mentally- and my goal and mission is to play a vital role in dismantling the oppressive barriers for entire communities to live active, healthy, safe, and balanced lives.

The continued direction bicycling advocacy and “mobility justice” has taken me over the past 8 years has been one that has emphasized that I listen to my heart – even on the professional level – it is the true teacher for me! It led me to bicycling as a child, and then ignited again in my 30s – 40s seeing the social and wellness benefits for our community, then on to the more serious frontier of how colonization has indeed played out in our community spaces of communing and mobility in my 50s. Antioch equipped me in both my observational stance as a stakeholder, as well as meaningfully advanced my understanding through academic research and participatory education paired with taking action. This learning experience and engagement has enabled me to better recognize, plan and address the mobility injustices that exist all around me.

The experience at Antioch has also offered me vast insights and encouragement on how I can play a role in healing in my community, which I relate to as the core role and purpose of being an urban sustainability advocate and activist.

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Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

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