Monday, April 15, 2013

Join Me in the Race Against Hate

I'm reading: Join Me in the Race Against Hate Tweet this!

This morning I heard a piece on NPR's Morning Edition about the 7 Boston Marathon runners from Newtown, CT. One of the runners explained that they were dedicating each mile of the race to a victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Through tears, she said they were going to sprint the remaining .2 or so miles like the kids running from school to escape the shooting.

Racing like school children running from a gunman. Oh, my heart. By the end of the segment, I was in tears, too.

My husband's employer has a running team and will cover the cost of entry in to various CARA races throughout Chicago. The hubs has signed on and caught the running bug. He's been training and last weekend competed in a 5-miler.

He's running a 10-miler in May and has his eye on a handful of other 5 and 10K races through the season. He sent me a note today that maybe he'd cut his racing career short "after what happened in Boston today."

I figured maybe someone he knew was running the race and sustained a bad injury. It sounded serious, though.

Before he could reply with details, I checked in with Google and then Facebook and then there I was tears with streaming down my face once again. Among the sad realizations for me was that until a news reporter mentioned the possibility of the bombs being the act of foreign terrorists, the idea that it was anything other homegrown crazies hadn't even occurred to me. Oh, America, what's happened to us?

My friend Jessica said it best:

I don't want to be afraid to send my child to school. I don't want to be afraid to run free. I don't want to be afraid of the library, the movie theater, the quiet residential neighborhoods of my city. I don't want my child to grow up in the reality of explosives and gunfire. I don't want your children to feel this fear either. Why is this country at war with itself?
Seeking solace in prayer and looking for the helpers, but my heart is grieving for us all.
She has an expanded version of this on her blog, Sassafrass. She captures what's on the minds of so many mothers today.

So does Liz Gumbinner at Mom-101.

My heart goes out to all of those affected, but personally, I'm at a loss for words. As I watched the news rolls in on my social media feeds and listened to press conferences from traditional news outlets, I felt beyond sad. Depleted. Helpless. And then I had an idea that felt just right.

I registered for the Race Against Hate. It's a 5K, it's a 10 K. It's a walk, it's a run. People can make it their own. The race is a memorial for Ricky Byrdsong, a former Northwestern University basketball coach. On July 2, 199 Ricky, an African-American, was gunned down by a white supremacist as he was walking through his quiet Skokie neighborhood. (The same shooter went on to wound 9 orthodox Jews and killed Korean student that same day.) The race is dedicated to raising funds to "combat hatred in all its forms."

Run, don't hide. Please join me on June 16.

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