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March is Women’s History Month. Throughout the month we’ll be profiling D.C. based women you should know. Amy Morse, the founder of Ideas Club, is heading the project. Today she profiles Anna Ray. -ed.

Anna Ray believes that bikes can change the future. Ray is a community activist and connector. Promoting health, transportation and wellness programs, Anna works with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organizations, WABA Women & Bicycles, Black Women Bike DC, and is a Licensed Cycling Instructor. Anna is a founding member of KINDRED Giving Circle, a charitable organization supporting the African American LGBT community in D.C. She has served on the board of Stop Street Harassment and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Originally from Minnesota, Anna is a proud Howard University alumna. She connects individuals, communities and organizations with the resources they need to be successful. While Anna loves D.C., she also loves to travel with her husband Dane and share experiences with other Nomadness Travel Tribe members.

Despite D.C.’s majority female population, WABA estimates that only 26% of cyclists are women, and far fewer are women of color. Through outreach programs like Roll Models and their prolifically-cool Facebook page, WABA builds a peer-to-peer network to encourage women to ride. Although bicycle lanes have expanded throughout the city in recent years, Anna has personally experienced that biking is still very difficult east of the Anacostia River. Thankfully, WABA’s City Cycling runs workshops by Black Women Bike DC, that teach how to manuver riding in areas without much bike infrastructure. Anna is looking forward to the continued expansion of Capital Bikeshare and the completion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Contrary to many mainstream media, there are black cyclists who want bike lanes, even in historically black neighborhoods.

Among Anna’s rad, self-starter outreach initiatives, she working with Capital Bikeshare to engage communities East of the Anacostia. After emailing her suggestions to Capital Bikeshare, she is now helping to launch a reduced-cost membership for organizations serving low-income citizens. Awesome.

Woman who Inspires Anna

Anna is inspired by the many unnamed women who fought for voting rights, civil rights and expanding access to resources. Today, as in the past, many women work “behind the scenes” to enable progress. These unnamed women worked without any stamp, historical remembrance or footnote. Anna hopes to affect at least a fraction of change that they have achieved.

With the many unnamed women from history in mind, The National Women’s History Museum launched with the founding statement, “Women have been left out of the telling of our history.” The NWHM operates an excellent website dedicated telling better stories about our history through compiling scholarship, online galleries and tools for educators. They run another prolifically-cool Facebook page.

Anna Recommends Getting Involved!

As mentioned above: WABA Women & Bicycles, Black Women Bike DC, Stop Street Harassment.

Casa Ruby – Casa Ruby, founded by the social justice advocate Ruby Jade Corado, is the only Bilingual Multicultural LGBT Organization providing life saving services and programs to the most vulnerable in the LGBT community (a large number of clients have incomes of less than $15,000.00 per year). Volunteer or donate.

HIPS – HIPS promotes the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by sexual exchange and/or drug use due to choice, coercion, or circumstance. HIPS provides compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency. Volunteer.