Earlier this summer, the organizers of the Civil Rights Race Series announced an ambitious quest: to run 1 million miles as a virtual campaign in support of justice.
“Our organization felt the need to take a stance on the racial injustices that plague the communities of people of color. We took this stance using the sport in which we love by supporting an organization that has been fighting for social and racial injustices for over one hundred years,” said Raynard Lawler, one of the organizers of the Civil Rights Race Series along with Mary Gooden, Vergil Chames, Patrick Towns and David Mahaffey. You can read more about the origins of the group here.
After moving its 2020 Civil Rights Selma to Montgomery relay to a virtual event, Civil Rights Race Series organizers realized they could use a similar experience to help bring attention to the civil rights cause nationwide.
“After the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, people were running 2.23 Miles for Ahmaud, but we thought: we can do more. We can fight social injustice. So we partnered with Black Girls Run, NAACP, National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, and Fleet Feet. The Civil Rights Race Series brought on several supporting organizations to include: National Black Marathon Association, Black Girls Do Bike, Black Men Run, GirlTrek, Black People Run, Bike and Swim, and Major Taylor Association (cycling) to amplify the message and make the greatest impact possible,” Vergil Chames explained.
One Million Miles for Justice received registrants from all states, as well as supporters in 16 countries. Elite and world-class athletes such as Gwen Jorgenson, Colleen Quigley, Meb Keflezighi and a host of Bowerman Track Club athletes participated. “With the support of Running USA, our partners, and other corporate partners, we were able to engage likeminded fitness organizations around the world,” Lawler noted.
So far, runners have logged just over 300,000 miles and made a significant financial impact.
“We are happy to announce that the NAACP will receive $188,931.75 in donations,” said Lawler. “We also made donations to the foundations of our two partners, Black Girls Run Foundation and the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation in the amount of $15,140 each,” Lawler said.
But the running and awareness campaign isn’t over yet.
“We are driven to pick back up from the 302,306.863 miles to complete the journey. Our participants have asked if we were doing an event in the fall,” Lawler said. We are proud to announce the journey will continue starting September 1, 2020. Details and additional information will be released shortly. Please monitor 1mmj.org for updates and to learn more about the Civil Rights Race Series 1 Million Miles for Justice campaign.
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