Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Photo by Samuel Bass, graduate of the Futures Fund
Although Veterans Day was welcomed with morning rain, Walls Project and partners successfully hosted the first-ever Veterans Day Bike Ride, with in-kind sponsorships from Community Coffee and Baton Rouge General.
On Thursday, November 11, Walls was joined by groups from Veteran Defender and Geaux Ride. The veterans of the group reminded us that, “if it ain’t raining, you ain’t training,” a saying that actually started in the U.S. Military because troops are ready to go even in the worst conditions.
One esteemed partner was Anthony Winters, 23-year veteran of the U.S. Army and founder of Veteran Defender. Through his organization, he helps aid and support veterans in all legal solutions, especially those who are denied much needed benefits.
During his legal career, Anthony spent 12 years as the Assistant Attorney General at the Louisiana Department of Justice in the Baton Rouge office. He’s made a few friends in high places, including Congressman Garret Graves, who showed up at the event to talk about what our legislators are doing to help our veterans.
With collaboration always comes opportunity. Walls Project saw this celebration event as an opportunity to reach out to joining veterans about the work happening in its Futures Fund program. Through a grant from Capital Area United Way, veterans are able to receive up to a $1,000 technology stipend for participating in Futures Fund Coding Boot Camp.
In the Boot Camp, participants get career technology skills needed to become part of the online economy and remote workforce. Veterans from the parishes of EBR, Ascension, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Livingston Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, St. Helena Parish, St. James Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, and West Feliciana Parish qualify to receive a $1,000 per family a tech stipend.
Additionally, Walls Project saw an opportunity with this Bike Ride to elevate the need for better Transportation Access, one of the 9 Drivers of Poverty.
On Saturday, November 20, artist Bryson Boutte will begin work on the transportation mural. Titled “The Places We'll Go,” this mural will depict a future for our city with access to affordable and quality transportation for all. It will be on the Toussaint Customs building, located on Highland Road.
Geaux Ride is one example of the future we have possible regarding transportation. Over the last five years, the locally owned business has really created buzz around bicycling in Baton Rouge. Owner Charles Daniel is making riding a bike a true staple in the nightlife of downtown Baton Rouge. His super cool cruiser bikes are equipped with speakers and lights.
At the end of the day, everything Walls Project does is centered around creating a better place to thrive. Whether you’re a veteran or civilian, we can all come together and find common ground by traveling the roads together. Hopefully, next year the weather will cooperate and our group can double in size.