As a women runner I, obviously, have thought about my safety while running. I’ve thought about lighting. I’ve thought about what routes I should take and what to avoid. I’ve thought about where I could go for help if needed. I have run with a whistle. I have run with pepper spray. With all of those thoughts though, I have never run in fear.
Here is the truth…….
I am a white woman runner. I have ALWAYS known and NEVER thought twice that I would not be helped if needed. I have known that in times of need, I could and have easily without a second thought asked for help.
I’ve asked for water from strangers.
I’ve asked for directions.
I’ve had strangers stop and ask me if I needed assistance if I looked in need.
I have this luxury.
I have this privilege.
Call it what it is….
Ahmaud Arbery had no such luxury or privilege afforded to him.
He was not asked if he needed help.
He was not afforded the privilege of just going for a run that I don’t think twice about.
All because of the color of his skin.
He was not seen as a young man trying to be healthy. He was not seen a runner out to feel the pleasure of going from a run. He was seen as dangerous. He was seen not as what he was, but by the eyes of hate and racism as someone to be feared. He was seen only as the color of his skin.
Today is his birthday. His family can not celebrate with him. He can not celebrate with his friends, family, and loved ones. His life was stolen from him and his family all because he was running while black.
There has been no justice for him. Actually until pressure, it appeared as happens time and time again it would be swept under the ugly rug. Not this time. Not in the future.
Today in honor of his life and his birthday, people are coming together to run 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery. 2.23 to mark the day his life was stolen (February 23). We will come together the only way we can now… Virtually.
He deserved better. His family deserved better. Our country deserves better than to let this bigotry and hatred thrive while pretending it doesn’t exist due to privilege of it not touching you. Black men and women deserve to run without fear. They deserve to not fear their cell phone will be seen as a weapon and unjustly killed. They deserve to be able to say they can’t breath and allowed air. They need to be able to wear a hoodie and carry a pack of skittles without being killed. On and on it goes and it is shameful. They can’t even take a knee to protest without being told they are doing it wrong. It is well past time for EVERYONE to stand up against it in all shapes and form.
So today we honor Ahmaud Arbury, but we also vow to stand up and fight to end this type of hatred and bigotry when we see it in our lives because if you aren’t willing to fight to do that, you are just as much part of the problem.
Please join not just this day but in future fight. The ongoing battle that should have been won long ago #IRunWithMaud