Simply put, Cascade Bicycle Club will not be able to replace Ed Ewing.
“We’re not going to be the same without him,” said Cascade’s Executive Director Elizabeth Kiker. And it’s true.
Ewing is best known for starting the club’s Major Taylor Project, a small idea that was just supposed to be an after-school activity but turned into a youth-empowering, community-building institution reaching 450 students in 14 schools in the south end of Seattle, south King County and Tacoma.
“I’ve been having a really honest gut check with myself and where I am in my life,” Ewing said.
And with the Major Taylor Project cruising, perhaps it’s time to move on to new challenges. His last day will be November 4.
“The Project is in really, really good shape,” he said. “What do great leaders do? They know when it’s time to go,” he said. “You make sure members of the team and the work are held in equal importance … and can stand alone without you.”
In the near term, Major Taylor Project Coordinator Rich Brown will be moving up to take on more responsibility. And the project is at the point now where it is hiring former students, which Ewing is very excited about.
Major Taylor is itself an impressive feat, but it’s Ewing’s leadership within Cascade that has made him such a powerful guiding light for an organization striving to be a better community partner beyond the mostly-white audience it draws with many of its major events. Through Major Taylor, Ewing developed a community-building theory where an organization like Cascade can be a meaningful partner in communities of color where they had limited presence before.
“[Major Taylor] is an opportunity to partner authentically with and within communities of color,” he said. It never felt helpful for while-led organizations to come into communities of color with a program the organization decided was the solution to that communities problems, he said. Instead, he urged the club to “build relationships in the community authentically … then ask them, ‘What are the goals of your community, and how can we support those goals?’” Continue reading