Catie Gould is a BikePortland contributor and co-chair of Bike Loud PDX.
Activist is a loaded word.
For years, when someone would call me an activist, I just shrugged it off. “I just go to a lot of public meetings,” I’d say. The word seemed too big for me. I was just interested in a few local projects and occasionally asked a hard question. Even after I went from attending rallies to organizing and speaking at them, the word still felt uncomfortable. Advocate, yes. That feels better. I could agree that most of my comments advocate for something. But activists? They are subject-matter experts, lead movements, build coalitions. I just wanted to go to a few meetings to channel my frustrations and hopes into a place where it might matter. Isn’t that what we’re all doing?