The murder of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis policeman showed the world a particularly brutal inhumanity of police use of force. For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, we watched the life of a man slowly extinguished. The collective visceral reaction to this sparked outrage and the Black Lives Movement exploded with protesters filling up streets in every major city across the country. While the Black community mourned the loss of yet another innocent man at the hands of police, the rest of America began to reckon with racism in unprecedented way.
Like so many others, I was filled with a fire and rage for justice. I racked my brain for ways to take action and change the conversation around race. For me, it was personal.
I am mixed race. My mom is white, my dad is Black, I am white-passing. Unlike the rest of my family, I learned of racism. I didn’t experience it.
The hunting accident where a stray bullet hit my Grandpops eye, a doctor refused to operate because he was black. The time my dad got a whooping because he was playing with a water gun in the window during the 1960s riots in Newark, NJ. The siblings my dad lost far too young – to violence, drugs, poverty. The deep, dark helplessness and depression I watched seep into the bones of the smartest man I know, the result of a lifetime of systemic oppression and lack of opportunity.
In this moment, I see more clearly than ever how my life stands in stark contrast to that of my family – the result of privilege alone. It’s why I am able to live and play in place like Truckee, CA. Why I can trail run, backpack, and backcountry ski…
The murder of George Floyd sparked a national movement, and a revolution within myself. I started deeply examining my privilege, learning how to be an ally, paying closer attention to black voices in the outdoor community, and planning ways to act.
It’s simply not enough to be “not racist” anymore. If you’re white or white passing, it’s YOUR TURN to be actively anti-racist. I have a lot to learn, but this is my start:
Diversify Your Feed
Follow black artists, athletes, politicians, musicians, scientists, etc. Listen to them. Learn from them. Pay them (if you can) for the emotional labor of educating you.
If you post BLM, there needs to be anti-racist action offline to back it up. Develop your action like you would your endurance. Like training for an ultra, change doesn’t happen overnight. Commit to being anti-racist, set goals, learn, make mistakes, put in the hard work & Keep. On. Going.
Support organizations fighting for social justice, particularly led by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). For the month of June, I decided to donate $1 per mile I run to For the entire month of June, to organizations that fight for racial justice and Black leaders providing free education and emotional labor. Keep reading to learn more about this project…