Meet the Community Connectors!
Meet the Community Connectors!
Selected from over 150 applicants across Austin, 12 Community Connectors will engage residents and businesses to ensure historically disenfranchised communities are represented in ETOD efforts.
Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) will help ensure that future development near transit corridors supports the overall quality of life as well as equitable outcomes for area residents of all incomes and backgrounds. The City of Austin and Capital Metro are working with the community to develop plans for equitable transit-oriented development along key Project Connect corridors and across the system.
Community Connectors are helping shape growth that lessens the displacement of local communities, preserves and encourages more housing affordability, stimulates small business growth, and creates a more equitable quality of life for all regardless of their race, income, abilities, or background. The connectors will be using a variety of approaches to gather feedback and discuss what they heard with the ETOD project team.
The Community Connector program recruited the following 12 qualified individuals:
Get to know them as they answer the following questions:
- How many years have you lived in Austin?
- What job or industry do you work in?
- Do you ride transit and if so, what route?
- What neighborhood or community do you represent?
- What organizations are you a part of or represent?
Gabriel Arellano has lived in Austin for a total of 5 years, and is the founder of STEM, an organization promoting education within Sign Languages. He represents the South Austin neighborhood, Deaf/ASL Communities, and is a part of TADSC (Texas Deaf Senior Citizens)
Kathryn Broadwater has lived in Austin for 5 years, and is currently working as a paralegal. She rides transit routes Burnet/South Lamar Route 803, and 300. Kathryn represents the South Austin neighborhood and is a part of the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities and Project Connect Advisory Committee.
Gavino Fernandez Jr.
Gavino Fernandez Jr. has lived in Austin for 67 years and has been committed to community advocacy across the city for many decades. Gavino works with 8 Neighborhood Associations and understands the need for innovative engagement to address hardships exacerbated by the pandemic.
Odett Garza-Witherspoon has lived in Austin for 14 years, and is currently working at Austin Community College. She represents the Southwest Austin neighborhood and works with many different communities throughout Austin and sees first hand how the current state of Austin's public transportation affects people throughout the city.
Ariel Marlowe has lived in Austin for over 2 years, and has previously worked in education and recreation. While his main mode of transit is biking and he devotes much of his time to organizations like Black History Bike Ride, Austin's Yellow Bike Project, and Explore Austin, Ariel believes that public transit provides opportunities for community members to feel free!
Leland Murphy has lived in Austin for 3 years, and is currently a Resident Assistant at the University of Texas at Austin. He rides the transit lines 1, 3, 801, and 803 frequently. Leland represents the student body at UTexas Austin and is a part of the Senate of College Councils, Texas Blazers, Always Texas, and Students for Financial Relief.
Pierre Nguyen has lived in Austin for almost 5 years. He is in the Coast Guard Reserves and works for a private ambulance company and a local nonprofit. Pierre is also a current student at a local community college. He currently resides in the Walnut Creek/Eubanks Acres neighborhood. He regularly volunteers and is a part of many organizations, which include local Neighborhood association, being a mentor for Big brothers and big sisters, and several others.
Rashmikant Shah has lived in Austin for 4 years, and is a retired Energy Engineering Coordinator. He represents the Asian Indian community, and is a part of an Asian Senior citizen group and volunteers for the Homeowners Association in Cedar park Texas.
Stephanie Trevino is a native Austinite currently working for the City of Austin in the Austin Public Health Department. She is a resident of Dove Springs (78744), and is a part of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc., Safe Kids Austin Coalition, National Community Health Worker Association, Texas Association of Community Health Workers, and Austin NAACP Chapter.
Stephanie Webb is a native Austinite who has spent most of her life here. She currently works as a freelance researcher and maintains a blog on race and the built environment, DecipherCity.Org. Stephanie rides the transit routes 300, 310, 20, 7, 350, and 311 lines frequently, and is also a resident of the East Riverside/Oltorf Neighborhood Planning Area.
Naomi Wilson has lived in Austin for the majority of her life. Naomi is a community advocate who recently founded Black Trans Leadership of Austin, a new Black and Trangender needs-focussed nonprofit. Naomi also consults with Transgender Wellness, a program from Outyouth. She frequently rides the 3 and 333 transit lines.
Fabian Wood has lived in Austin for 11 years, is currently working in the mental health field as an executive director of a local nonprofit and consulting on mental health equity. He rides the transit routes 10 and 1 periodically. Fabian represents the African American community, and is a part of the D. Wood Foundation and the Austin-Area African American Behavioral Health Network.