By Gil Diaz
Before launching her own consulting firm specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Tamika Butler served as executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make Los Angeles a healthy, safe, and fun place to ride a bike.
“When I moved to Los Angeles, I was constantly in my car and was no longer the active person I had been in the Bay Area. My doctor said I really needed to take better care of myself,” recalled Butler, who identifies as a Black genderqueer woman. “A friend convinced me to get a bike and do AIDS/LifeCycle, despite my concerns about being the chubby girl on a bicycle with small wheels.”
After completing the seven-day, 545-mile bike trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles benefiting San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV-related services of the Center, Butler swore she would put away her bike and never touch it again.
“But as soon as I finished the ride, I missed it!” she confessed. “Suddenly, I was biking to the store, biking to hang out with friends. AIDS/LifeCycle literally changed my life and my relationship with my city! When I was on my bike, I could see my environment and be close to many different communities.”
A graduate of Stanford Law School, Butler’s first glimpse of the Center occurred when she met a colleague who worked for the Center’s Legal Services as a counsel for youth experiencing homelessness.
“I remember thinking what a place like the Center would have meant to me growing up—seeing other LGBTQ people like me as doctors, lawyers, and managers providing vital services to our community,” Butler said. “Everyone I met at the Center that day was full of warmth, compassion, and optimism. It was such an amazing feeling—to be seen and valued.”
Her affinity with the Center continued to blossom, and when asked to join its Board of Directors, she shifted into high gear.
“I couldn’t say yes fast enough! The Center is a fantastic organization doing phenomenal and critical work. What I love about the Center: it’s constantly evolving,” she said. “I’m excited about being a support for the Center through its leadership transition, and I want to be a part of continuing to center race, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work.”
Tamika and her wife Kelly reside in Los Angeles with their two-year-old son Atei. The family is expecting a newborn baby in March.