Social distancing guidelines haven’t stopped the outbreak of racism and violence against the black community, nor will it stop the opportunity to end it.
After the public death of George Floyd, and many other African Americans, Southern Utah University professor Hayden Coombs and student Somtochukwu Achebo began the first annual Southern Utah Run to End Racism.
“Because it’s the summer and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, many who call Cedar City home were absent from the peaceful protest that SUU President Scott L. Wyatt hosted with local law enforcement,” Coombs explained.
Coombs and Achebo decided there must be another way for students and community members to show their support, while still maintaining safe social distance.
The solution? A virtual race.
Beginning on June 8, Utah locals will have the opportunity to run or walk a 5k from wherever they may be, to show their support for social change and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Registration is open until June 13, and those who register will receive a customized race bib with their name and number of choice.
Participants are encouraged to use the hashtags, “#SouthernUtahRun” “#RunToEndRacism” “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#EndRacism” to spread awareness and share their experience on social media.
The run also highly encourages everyone, participant or not, to donate to Black Lives Matter organizations and scholarship funds in honor of those affected by the violence caused by systemic racism.
As of now, the organization has over 100 individuals and counting committed to running.
Although this virtual race will not actually end racism, Coombs and Achebo hope that it will act as a safe place for those who wish to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as bring the issue of systemic racism and violence to light.
“[The virtual 5k] is a way that enables anyone to show their support for making our community an even better place to live while maintaining safe social distance,” Coombs said.
For more information, visit the organization’s website and Facebook page.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photo courtesy of Southern Utah Run to End Racism