(Photos by Frances Ramirez)
When word spread around Boston that ICE agents stopped a Black runner on the VFW Parkway in the primarily white enclave of West Roxbury, people got angry. I live close to where the stop occurred and knew about the weekly Black Lives Matter Vigil that takes place at the Holy Name rotary nearby every week (20 weeks and counting as of this week). I called my friend Sid Baptista, founder of Pioneers Run Crew, to energize our communities for a run together, a run that to say clearly and loudly with our presence: "we're in this together."
Gathered at 5PM, Heartbreakers, Pioneers, Trailblazhers, Live Fit Army, UNMD, and the community members we all serve showed up in force. Notably present in support but very low-key in style were two of Boston's high profile leaders: Molly Seidel (professional athlete/2020 US Olympic marathon team qualifier) & Michelle Wu (Boston City Councilor At-Large and 2021 Boston Mayoral Candidate).
Personally, I've been active and engaged in the fight against racism primarily in close collaboration with these groups. This particular event was important to me because it was a direct response to an incident and it was in my neighborhood. I'm grateful for the outpouring of support by this running community for one if its own. I ran about a mile next to the man* who was stopped. He was overwhelmed by the event and the size of the crowd that showed up in support. He ran faster and further than expected with the adrenaline powering him after what was an emotional and exhausting week. And, that's what we're here to do: bring people further, faster, safer, with love and support. Olympians, city leaders, community leaders, coaches, runners, citizens; Black, brown, POC, white people, here for the run, pushing for change, in it together. - DF
(* Person stopped not named to avoid more media attention)
All photos by Frances Ramirez (@franipac)