By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
POTTSTOWN >> Community members ran through color at Riverfront Park on Saturday to signify their stance against racism.
More than 100 people registered to be part of the first YWCA Tri-County Area Race Against Racism Color 5K, said Stacey Woodland, executive director of the nonprofit organization. She said the 5K run or walk event supported advocacy programs of the YWCA and incorporated an important part of their mission which is to eliminate racism.
From children to adults, people spent their Saturday morning running along the Schuylkill River Trail through clouds of bright color. The 5K race may have been the main event but the movement started way before then. Participants got warmed up with some line dancing to music being played at the park. There was also a group stretch and warm-up which included running in place, jumping jacks and more.
“We wanted people to be ready to do the walk or the run,” Woodland said. “We invited people regardless of where you are in your capacity and previous history of doing a 5K.”
The Race Against Racism 5K was in connection to the national YWCA campaign called Stand Against Racism. The movement is about working for racial justice and creating awareness about the negative impacts of racism. Woodland said the YWCA USA campaign is about helping people figure out the kind of racism they are most passionate about and how they can stand against it.
“I see the campaign evolving into all kinds of ‘isms’ but racism especially is always going to stay at the top this campaign,” she said.
Before this year, the local YWCA participated in the Stand Against Racism campaign by doing assemblies with students in area school districts. Woodland said the students write down the type of racism they want to stand against then share it through social media. YWCA Tri-County Area decided to add a healthy 5K race to their 2017 campaign. Woodland said the race allowed other community members to get involved and take a stand against racial injustice.
“A couple things that we (the YWCA) are trying to make sure we do is be focused on the health and wellness of our community and then really living up to the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity,” she said.
Woodland said Saturday’s color 5K allowed YWCA Tri-County Area to work on their core mission while also promote healthy behaviors and attitudes.
Proceeds from the 5K will go toward racial justice programming. For more information about YWCA Tri-County Area, visit their Facebook at facebook.com/ywcatricountyarea or the website at ywcatricountyarea.org.