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We Belong Here: The Takoma Park Equity Walk

 

In January 2020, Takoma Park received a grant from America Walks, an organization dedicated to advancing safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk, to construct an equity-themed fitness route.

We Belong Here, the resulting  educational and engaging walking activity offers residents a safe space for discussion and exploration of equity issues.  In the spirit of equity, two locations were installed in late summer.  One route intersects with the two elementary schools, the middle school, Community Center, Takoma Park Library and Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park. A second route can be found along Anne Street between University Boulevard and Lockney Avenue.

Students, teachers, and parents can begin the route at any point and enjoy a 15 to 30-minute walk following the fitness activities stenciled on the sidewalk and equity-themed prompts on the We Belong Here StoryMap.

Access We Belong Here via QR code on any smartphone device. QR markers are located on the ground throughout the route. Walkers can click on any QR marker to pull up prompts for exploration and discussion. Below, and on the We Belong Here StoryMap, are resources for continued learning and suggested age-appropriate literature compiled by Takoma Park librarians.  A print version will be available for individuals without digital access.

Quick Links:

 

We Belong Here

StationLocationDirectionsDiscussion PromptsLearn More
Taking Steps


By the Community Center Basketball Court

Anne Street
Step from stone to stone.

Only step on the big stones, only step on the small stones.

Pick a color and only step on that color.
What makes you feel successful?

What makes you feel proud?

What are your goals? Think about baby steps versus giant leaps.

How does it feel to challenge yourself?
"Real change, enduring change happens one step at a time."
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Book Suggestions
Bursting Bubbles



Near the Takoma Park Library Entrance

Anne Street
Jump on the bubble to burst stereotypes and make affirmations:
Shred the Word,
Black Lives Matter,
Girl Power,
I Belong,
You Belong,
We Belong.

Think up your own thing to say as you "pop" the bubbles.
What is a stereotype? What is an assumption?

What is bias?

What is prejudice?

What is discrimination?

What is an affirmation?
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
-James Baldwin

Book Suggestions
Walk the Walk

200 Block of Philadelphia AveFollow the steps of a bear, elephant, frog.If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

What is your favorite animal and why?

What are the ways different animals get around?

What are the different ways humans get around?

What makes you feel unique?

What makes you feel valued?
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
-Maya Angelou

Book Suggestions
Leaps and Bounds

Corner of Philadelphia Ave and Holly Ave

Anne Street
Jump from log to log.What does is mean to take a risk?

How does it feel to take a risk?

Give an example of taking a good risk.

Give an example of a bad or dangerous risk.
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
-Helen Keller

Book Suggestions
Hop, Skip and Jump


Holly Ave across from Hodges Ln

Anne Street
Find a rock or twig.
Toss it to the number 1.
Hop through the numbers, skipping number one.
Turn around and come back picking up your rock at number 1.
Now toss to number 2 and continue.
Two or more can play by taking turns.
What games do you like?

Do you like to play on a team or on your own?

What does it mean to take turns?

What does fair mean? Is fair the same as equal?
Book Suggestions
Walking on Tiptoe

Corner of Holly Ave and Grant Ave

Anne Street
Stay on your tip toes, follow the snake's body from head to tail.What does it mean to tiptoe around a subject?

Have you been quiet when you could have said something?

What makes you want to speak out?
“We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced.”
-Malala Yousafzai

Book Suggestions
Staying Balanced

300 Block of Grant AveBalance on the tightrope, walking with one foot in front of the other.

Pretend you are high up in the air. Try not to fall off.
What does it mean to have balance in our life?

What makes you feel anxiety or "out of balance?"

What if you fall?

Can you get back up again?
"It’s time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.”
-Emma Watson

Book Suggestions
Lead and Fellow

On Grant Ave near TPMSStand facing another person. One person is the leader; the other follows.

Dance, make funny faces, move your arms and legs, be creative.

Say or sign something in another language.

Switch the leader and the follower.
How are we the same, how are we different?

How does it feel to be different?

What makes you feel proud?

What makes you feel unique?

Are you a leader or a follower?
"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."
-Oscar Wilde

Book Suggestions
Walking and Talking

200 Block of Grant Ave

Anne Street (inspirational words only)
Follow the foot prints heel to toe.

Pause at each word.

Think about the meaning.

Talk about what each word means in your family, in your community in our country.

Say these and your own affirmations:
I am kind.
I am curious.
I am creative.
I belong.
What does it mean to "walk in someone else's shoes?"

Are you kind?

Are you curious?

Are you creative?

Do you respect others?

Do you respect yourself?

What makes you feel included?

What is an affirmation?
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Frederich Nietzsche

Book Suggestions
Tree Pose

Entrance to the Takoma Piney Branch Park

Anne Street
Begin by standing with your arms at your sides.

Shift your weight to your left foot.

Position your right foot like in the picture.

Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it.

Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky.

Rotate your palms inward to face each other.
What is hard for you?

What is easy?

Why is practice important?

What makes you feel calm?
Book Suggestions

We Belong Here: The Takoma Park Equity Walk would not have been possible without the participation of the following people and organizations: America Walks, Troy Boddy, Alvaro Calabia, Annalyn Chao, Coltin Chao, Jamee Ernst, Rosalind Grigsby, Kori Johnson, Stephanie Kaufman, Nadji Kirby, Patti Mallin, Bien Martinez, Kimberly Mathis, Aiden McCown, Diana McCown, Nate McCown, Owen McCown, Karen McPherson, MCPS Equity Initiatives Unit, Alexander Michael, Duwan Morris, Adrienne Neher, Dan Neher, Dorothy Neher, Lucy Neher, Lydia Neher, Kati Nolfi, John Pitt, Jim Riker, Brendan Smith, Takoma Park Public Works, Lauren Templeton, Donna Wright

Planning and Community Development Sections