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Over the past few weeks, Athletic Annex has been leaning hard into our mission to “Empower and Inspire our community to live happy and healthy lives…”. I’ve personally spent quite a bit of time listening and educating myself on systemic racism, racial inequality and social injustices all while looking hard in the mirror at myself and our Company. There is so much work that needs to be done to achieve racial equality and Athletic Annex is committed to do our part.
I thought Nia Akins, the great 800m runner from the University of Pennsylvania put it into running vernacular best when she wrote in Runners World, “As runners, we often find ourselves straddling a fine line between comfortable and uncomfortable. We call this line our threshold. Though we are biased in favor of what’s comfortable, from both a physiological and psychological standpoint, we know this state offers us no gains… I know there is an opportunity to create a system that protects all of its citizens... Nonetheless, creating that system will take conversations and actions that will make everyone uncomfortable. As runners, we know comfort does not contribute to growth. We are no strangers to discomfort. We embrace it in every run and every race. We should confront the issue of systemic racial oppression with the same attitude.”
At Athletic Annex we know that we have not done enough to support runners from the Central Indiana BIPOC community and that changes now. We’ve had uncomfortably honest conversations internally and we’ve heard from some of our community with honest feedback that has challenged us.
Going forward, we are taking these actions:
We believe that running brings people together and that when people are running together, they learn about one another, support one another and love one another. We have no doubt that running can play a big part in deconstructing the systemic racism that exists in our community and our nation as long as we’re all together.
I encourage you to check out these resources if you’re interested in learning more. They were all very helpful to me. This list is nowhere near comprehensive so please do more research and continue to push yourself into that uncomfortable zone. We’ll be doing the same.