In early March we faced a decision brought on by the pandemic. The scheduled 22nd annual Race Against Racism was coming up and it was becoming clear that a gathering of 3000 individuals running a 5K through the city of Lancaster was not wise nor safe. As we reviewed options, the question arose, “Should we cancel the 2020 Race Against Racism?”
As the new CEO, and new to town, I have never seen the Race and people I’ve met both love and hate the Race. It’s either a ‘coming together of the whole town’, or a ‘fundraiser that doesn’t impact racism’, depending on who you ask. I know racism is real. I have big dreams for eliminating racism and that’s why I took this role. Cancelling the Race was just not an option on my watch.
Now, just days after we finished our #VirtualRace at the end of April, we learned with horror of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Ahmaud didn’t know it that day but he was in a race against racism. A race as old as our country and one with deadly consequences. Breonna was the victim of a police shooting while asleep in her own home.
In the coming months YWCA Lancaster will be moving forward with new racial and gender equity initiatives. We are grateful to the sponsors, supporters and runners of our Race Against Racism who care about the issue and help us continue to make a statement. We are committed to working toward eliminating racism and empowering women every day and we invite you to join us.
May Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor rest in peace.