The commUNITY run was born out of a desire to provide people with educational resources and links to organizations that promote racial equality and opportunities and to unite people together in standing against racism and social injustices in this country. We also recognize that with the pandemic millions of people have taken to roads, tracks, and trails to run on a regular basis. As such, an easy way to show we’re united and willing to support each other against social inequity is to continue to do something we love to do, running, but do it together to support a movement.
In the past few weeks, we have seen protests, riots, rallies, memorials, and the beginning of legislative changes at the city, state, and federal levels. However, it all starts individually with a change of heart and mind. Our goal for the commUNITY run is to provide everyone with those opportunities to build new perspectives that help unite us and tear down old ones that divide us.
LM: Tell us about the CommUNITY Run.
KS: When George Floyd was killed, I, like many other people in this country, was shocked and awakened to the fact that racism is alive and a powerful influence in this country still. It’s not as if I wasn’t aware of it, but it was something I couldn’t deny anymore. I wanted to do something; I just didn’t know what. I started with educating myself on racism and black violence so that I could be more informed. I thought probably the first step for me personally was getting out of my own ignorance. I’m also a runner and over the last couple of months, I’ve participated in several virtual racing events. There are millions of people who enjoy running and doing races, and I thought creating a race for Black Lives Matter or something similar might be a way for people like me who want to do something to help the movement but weren’t exactly sure what to do. And since all races right now are virtual and can be done on your own time at your own pace, it wouldn’t be a major commitment like signing up for a live event might be. So, I emailed a local race management company here in Sacramento that organizes several races I’ve participated in. I pitched the idea to them, not necessarily wanting to organize the event myself but letting them know doing a race for the anti-racism movement might be something that a lot of people would be interested in. I got an immediate response from a very enthusiastic member of their team saying it was a great idea, but the rest of the team may not feel as strongly as her. She also said if I was really interested in doing it, I could do it myself, and she would show me how. I didn’t want to do it myself because I didn’t know anything about putting on a race event, so I just told her to let me know what the team officially says. A couple of days went by, and she responded that the team wasn’t interested in doing it, but she was personally. Not only was she interested, but she had already enlisted three others who also wanted to help, and they had already begun working out logistics for the event such as the website, the name, a t-shirt, and a design for the race bib. So, all I had to do was say yes or no to being involved and of course, I said yes. And that’s really how the race and our organization came to be 🙂.
LM: What made you start this organization?
KS: The idea for the CommUNITY run was to bring people together, to unify everyone AND to provide resources for people to educate themselves on what’s been happening in this country and why it needs to stop. We all felt strongly that this education should be free, so we made the race a free event. We also partnered with several organizations whom we felt placed a lot of emphasis on providing educational resources to the community. While the event is free, we strongly encourage everyone who signs up to donate to one of our partnering organizations. So far we have raised over $2,500 total for the five organizations we’ve partnered, so the response in supporting these organizations has been overwhelmingly positive.
LM: Tell us about your upcoming event.
KS: We built our organization around this one event, but we’ve also already discussed the fact that we need to keep going as an organization as well. So that will be our next step after the race, to determine our identity as an organization and what we want to look like. But of course, it will mirror the same ideas as the race event.
LM: How can others support your efforts?
KS: The best support we can get right now is for more people to sign up and look into the organizations we’ve partnered with. Donating is optional, but we at least want everyone to know about the organizations and what they’re about.
LM: How can we connect with you and the organization?
KS: To connect with us, you can go here: the CommUNITY Run