The print in the photo above has been hanging in my home for the last 3.5 years. I actually think some people see it as parents telling children to be quiet and the impending doom that comes with that. I got the print as a reminder to myself to keep fighting the fight that I had immersed myself in since 2014 with Ironman, trying to achieve equal slots for women at the Ironman World Champions through #50womentokona.
Throughout the current presidency, the print has often brought to mind other battles we find ourselves fighting, these years wrought with controversy and oppression for various groups.
But I’m not sure I’ll ever look at this print again, without thinking of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others.
I was 23 years old when Obama was elected in 2008. I was young, excited, felt like I had the world at my finger tips and like so many of us, filled with Hope. His election was symbolic to me of the fact that my generation stood for change, promise, and good.
I was naive.
Since 2008 my generation has gone ahead and we have done, created, built, dreamt and inspired. We have changed the world. That election gave us a sense that things in our world were better, and so we poured our energy into things to make our lives more enriched, more fun, more connected, more efficient.
I was naive. I knew racism still existed, but I made conscious choices to believe that it wasn’t in my world…that incidents were isolated….that they could be called “incidents.” My naivety was a privilege, afforded to me by the color of my skin.
My generation has gone on to change the world, but in the process we overlooked the need to change the system. We forgot that instead of forging ahead, perhaps we needed to take all our energy and passion and go backwards, digging into the systems that govern our streets and educate our people, and make sure we put changes in place so we never ended up exactly where we are now.
We were naive. Because we didn’t fix the system, more Black people were oppressed. More Black people were murdered. More Black people’s voices and stories have been removed from history.
We are standing on the brink of a massive opportunity. The world has a lot of battles to fight, but I hope we all make a conscious choice to pick this battle and help make the world a place where Black Lives Matter. Through larger actions of education and activism, and smaller actions of reading, signing petitions and speaking up when something needs to change in front of you….through mistakes and humility, I hope you will join me in this ongoing pursuit to be an ally for our BIPOC communities.
What am I’m doing *now* to begin my allyship? Great question. Because I believe my audience is a lot of outdoor enthusiasts and endurance athletes, I’ll start today by sharing ways that I am learning about racism in the outdoor space and how we can change that.
I donated to Outdoor Afro.
FKT’s are also a space that lacks diversity – But Coree Aussem-Woltering is out there RIGHT NOW on the Ice Age Trail (over 1,000 miles!). I know firsthand how just SEEING an FKT attempt from someone like myself can plant the seed – let’s share Coree’s run which is being tracked on the “tracking now” area of fastestknowntime.com and plant those seeds for other Black athletes.
Reading Black Faces, White Spaces.
Listening to the Unlikely Hikers podcast.
Filling my social media feeds with more Black voices. Fast Women has an instagram highlight reel of “Fast Black Women” that is an excellent place to start.
This is the end of my blog post for today, but I am dedicated to not making this the end of my commitment to Black Lives Matter.