Siobhan Kenney is a trail runner living in Truckee, CA. Inspired by the nation-wide Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, she decided to use her passion for running to raise money for racial justice initiatives with a #RunForJustice. During the entire month of June, she matched her daily runs with $1 per mile donations to a wide-ranging collection of Black-led organizations working for racial justice.
Beyond just donating, she used #RunForJustice as an opportunity to learn about different issues facing the Black community, from violence against Black Trans women to racism in the outdoor community, seeking to amplify the message of each organization to friends and family.
With her #RunForJustice, she hopes to inspire others to use their passions – running, hiking, skiing, climbing – to support the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s no longer enough to be not racist, we must be actively anti-racist. Particularly those of us that hold privilege in predominantly white spaces.
If you would like to donate to her #RunForJustice or learn about the organizations that she donated to, head over to her crowdfunding site. For a day-by-day recap of her run, view her BLM story highlight on Instagram or by reading her daily recap below.
“For the 30 days in June I will donate $1 for every mile I run to organizations fighting for social justice and black people. Will you match my donations?”
Day 1: Donate $9.54 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is a legal organization committed for fighting for racial justice. They work for structural changes through litigation, education, and advocacy. They aim to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.
Day 2: Donate $5.88 to Color of Change. Color of Change designs campaigns to end practices that hold black people back and champion solutions for a more equitable future. You may know their work by the passage of the “Fair Pay to Play Act” in California, which allowed for NCAA athletes to profit from their names, images, and likeness.
Day 3: Donate $8.64 to UnCommon Law.
I discovered this organization through a personal recommendation from a friend who works with inmates at San Quentin. UnCommon Law is headquartered in Oakland and does incredible work here in California. Their mission is to provide justice and healing for people impacted by incarceration. They provide legal counsel, training, mental health counseling, education, and more. They are Black led, Black founded, and save Black lives. You can also read interviews with their former clients on their website – these are powerful.
Day 4: Donate $4.60 to The Loveland Foundation. The Loveland Foundation provides FREE therapy for Black women and girls and resources that prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing. Their goal is to provide 1000 women in 2020 with financial support for 4 – 8 therapy sessions. Mental health in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community is so important, especially now in this moment. Did you know that the adult Black community is 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems, such as Major Depressive Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder? And studies have found that racism can affect your mental health as early as childhood. We know that racism has a real impact on access to resources, but the impact on mental health garners much less attention. Adding to the hurdle is the stigma against mental health and therapy, particularly in the Black community. Ready to support mental health for the Black community?
Day 5: Donate $6.08 to The Louisville Community Bail Fund (via The Action Network) Where were you on your 27th birthday? I was in Rocky Mountain National Park. For me, turning 27 felt important, a transition to the definitive category of “late 20s.” I felt strong, grounded, but also very lost and confused as to the path I wanted to lay for my future. I ate good food, played music, spent time with friends…
Breonna Taylor would have turned 27 today. She was celebrated EMT, an essential worker saving lives while putting herself at risk during a pandemic. What was she thinking as her birthday approached? Was she hopeful? Excited for the career that lay ahead?
On March 13, 2020, police entered her house unannounced and fired 20 rounds. She was shot 8 times while she slept. They were executing a “no-knock” warrant. It was the wrong house.
Today I ran 6.08 miles for Breonna and donated $6.08 to the Louisville Community Bail Fund which supports protestors on the ground in Kentucky fighting for Breonna. Bail funds break down the financial barriers within the criminal justice system. Along with paying bails, the LCBF provides post-release support and focuses on preventative measures for those targeted by law enforcement.
Note: If you would like to support a North Carolina bail fund project, look up NC Bail Fund
Day 6: Donate $4.68 to Melanin Basecamp. Today I ran 4.68 and donated $4.68 to Melanin Basecamp. They work towards increasing BIPOC representation in the media, advertising, and stories of the Outdoors. They were the first group I followed on Instagram where I saw Black climbers, skydivers, mountain bikers, fly fishermen, etc. They are currently accepting donations to their Titan Film Project which features Sabrina Chapman, an incredible Black Canadian climber, as she works towards completing her first 5.14a! You can watch the Kickstarter trailer here
Day 7: Today I ran 14.17 miles and donated $14.17 to the Equal Justice Initiative. This incredible organization is dedicated to ending mass incarceration, fighting for criminal justice reform, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable communities. I encourage you to poke around their website. They have a wealth of resources on criminal justice reform, racial justice, and public education – the pillars of their work.
Ready to go one step beyond donating? Watch the recent film Just Mercy which features the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson. It tells the powerful true story of Bryan as a young lawyer defending an innocent man on death row. It dives into our criminal justice system and is free to watch for the entire month of June. Here’s where you can watch it on Amazon Prime, Google Play and Apple TV.
“It’s searing and soaring, and it will start a million conversations in the country about the death penalty, about racial injustice, and about how poor Americans routinely get a third class justice system.” – Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
Day 8: Donate $5 to the Community Justice Action Fund Yesterday a man drove his car into a Seattle protest and shot a demonstrator. When I read the headline this morning, I knew I wanted to donate to an organization that fights gun violence. Through Giffords (the org. led by former Rep. Gabby Giffords that advocates for gun reform) I found the Community Justice Action Fund which works towards building power for and with communities of color to end gun violence. They have an incredible team of BIPOC leaders, including some of the most influential gun violence prevention advocates of color. Their vision is for those impacted by gun violence to lead the movement through campaigns and policy reform.
Today I ran 5 miles and donated $5 to the Community Justice Action Fund. Several of you have expressed wanted to donate a lump sum instead of daily donations. I urge you to donate daily and spend a couple of minutes on each organization’s website to learn more. But to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, I will also set up a fundraiser to accept bulk donations on the 15th and the 30th. Stay tuned for that. Also, for those of you who expressed wanting to donate in my name, I’d like to request any donations be made in memory of my Grandpop, Ernest Kenney.
Day 9: Donate $3.25 to Groundswell Fund Today I ran 3.25 miles and donated $3.25 to Groundswell Fund. Their mission is twofold, focusing on both reproductive justice and social justice. They support intersectional approaches to these complex issues and provide resources and funds to grassroots organizing. Here’s what I really love about this organization: its leadership. They are led by Black, Trans, and Indigenous women of color. This is the kind of leadership we so desperately need, one that amplifies the silenced voices of our society. Their main work includes grantmaking, capacity building, and funder organizing.
Day 10: Donate $7.03 to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Today I ran 7.03 miles and donated $7.03 to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Who is Ella Baker? She was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and her leadership is modeled today through the work of the center. “She was openly critical of top-down, predominately male leadership structures and advocated for grounded, community-based organizing.” Hell yeah 🙌.
They work on a local, state, and national level on projects and policies that reform our criminal justice system and help communities heal. Here’s what their mission boils down to: “Following in her footsteps, we organize with Black, Brown, and low-income people to shift resources away from prisons and punishment, and towards opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.” I love how this graphic below (also attached) illustrates the historical precedent for shifting resources away from prisons/police and towards community initiatives. They also have a podcast! Listen to episodes here.
Day 11: Donate $4.23 to Fair Fight Today I ran 4.23 miles and donated $4.23 to Fair Fight, an organization that fights for voting access in Georgia. If you’ve paid attention to the news recently, you know that Georgia’s election was, to put it eloquently, a shit show. Unfortunately, this is nothing new and the state has a long, complicated history with voter suppression. What does voter suppression look like? It presents itself in voter registration, ballot access, and voter counting. These three in particular are the focus of Fair Fight; it’s why they fight.
Fair Fight was founded by Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States and the first black woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union. She works tirelessly for voting rights and understands the disproportionate impact (and historical legacy) on Black communities.
Voting is a constitutional right that needs to be accessible to EVERYONE. Match my donation.
Day 12: Donate $4.00 to The Bail Project Yesterday I ran 4.20 miles and donated $4.00 to The Bail Project (whole dollars only). Here’s the deal, innocent until proven guilty only applies to those who can afford pay bail. If you don’t have money for bail, you sit in jail. Is this a just, equitable, or humane pretrial system? No. That’s why The Bail Project’s work is so important. They help bring people home by providing free bail assistance to low-income individuals who are legally presumed innocent, plus support and advocacy while they navigate the pretrial process. On this topic, I highly recommend watching Time: The Kalief Browder Story on Netflix. It covers the case of Kalief Browder who was held for three years on Rikers Island because he couldn’t make bail, two of which in solitary confinement. He was never convicted of a crime and once released, the effect on his mental health and trauma of the experience was… devastating.
Back to The Bail Project. 100% of online donations are used to bring people home. “The presumption of innocence should not be for sale.” Match my donation:
Day 13: Donate $7.00 to The Marshall Project Today I hiked 6.91 miles (#walkforjustice counts in my book) and donated $7.00 to The Marshall Project (whole dollars only). They are a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that focuses on our criminal justice system. If you want to learn more about issues like race, the death penalty, policing, mental health, etc. I suggest browsing the articles on their website or signing up for their newsletter. I also love that they openly publish a diversity report and explicitly state the value of people of color in their workplace.
Day 14: Donate $4.83 to the Transgender Law Center June is Pride month. In normal times there would be events, parades, and huge celebrations for the LGBTQ community. But these are not normal times. Within the LGBTQ community, one demographic faces a staggering amount of violence: Black trans women. Here are some stats (link here):
- 2018 – 27 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were Black transgender women.
- 2019 – 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were Black transgender women.
- 2020 – 14 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by violent means
Two black trans women were murdered just this week, both on June 9th. Dominique Rem’mie Fells was murdered in Philadelphia, her dismembered body found in the Schuylkill River. Riah Milton was lured to a park in Cincinnati and shot to death. These two deaths happened the same week that President Trump erased civil rights protections in health care for transgender patients.
Today I ran 4.83 miles and donated $4.83 to the Transgender Law Center. They are a Trans-led, incredible organization that is policy-focused and helps advance the rights of Trans people through litigation. “Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender-nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.”
“No one is disposable.”
Day 15: Donate $6.84 to Outdoor Afro Today I ran 6.84 miles and donated $6.84 to Outdoor Afro. This is an organization that works to change the narrative about who engages in outdoor activities (hint: it’s everyone!). In my experience, the outdoors is overwhelmingly white and wealthy. In the past 7 years, I’ve lived all over Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen families that look like mine… This needs to change. That’s where Outdoor Afro comes in. They work to make the outdoors more equitable and accessible. Outdoor Afro leaders are in 30 states facilitating activities like hiking, evironmental stewardship, biking, camping, etc. They also have an awesome blog, take a gander.
Representation matters. Let’s diversify the outdoors.
*Please make today’s donation in memory of Ernest Kenney, my grandpop. He introduced me to my first outdoor sport – fishing! The mountains that I enjoy were never accessible to him and remain an unsafe space for Black Americans. We can change that.
Note: Outdoor Afro has a local Charlotte group on Facebook, click here.
Day 16 & 17: Donate $5.85 to Girl Trek Yesterday was a rest day because this is a marathon, not a sprint. Both my mind and body needed to rest, recuperate, and absorb the massive amounts of information being passed around.
Today, I jumped right back in and ran 5.85 miles and donated $5.85 to Girl Trek, a public health nonprofit that works to empower Black women and girls in the US through walking. This organization is inspiring and shows us how walking, running, or any other outdoor activity can be a powerful tool for healing, conversation, community empowerment, health/wellness, and action. They view walking as a radical act of self-care, a way to advocate for public health and civil rights. They support policy that improves access to safe places to walk, reclaims green spaces, and much more. Want to begin your own #walkforjustice? Sign up for their Black History Bootcamp for the month of June, a 21 day walking challenge with daily stories, podcasts, meditations celebrating the Black foremothers who paved the trail for progress.
“We walk to heal our bodies, inspire our families, and to reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods. We believe in the discipline and power of walking to transform our lives, enliven our communities, and restore our humanity.”
Why do you walk?
Day 18: Donate $7.43 to the Brennan Center for Justice Today I ran 7.43 miles and donated $7.43 to the Brennan Center for Justice. They are a nonpartisan law and policy organization that works to defend our systems of democracy. Their mission is “to build an America that is democratic, just, and free — for all.” How do they do this? Research, advocacy, and communication. They cover a wide range of issues like ending mass incarceration, making sure every American can vote, defending the integrity of elections, gerrymandering, and more. View their work here.
Day 22: Donate $3.05 to the National Brotherhood of Skiing Yesterday I climbed and skied Mount Shasta, a 14,000-foot mountain in California. There were many other climbers and skiers on our route but of them, I noticed: zero Black climbers, zero Black skiers, and zero families that look like mine in the campground. This is a problem.
It’s no surprise that skiing is an activity that is inaccessible to Black communities. It’s insanely expensive, overwhelmingly white, and takes place in far-reaching rural areas that are generally difficult to get to. It also requires a heck of a lot of time. Time to learn to sport, time to travel to ski areas, time to pour over weather reports, time off from work during storms… I could write a book about all the ways skiing is inaccessible and inhospitable to BIPOC. But for now, one step I am taking is to support the National Brotherhood of Skiers. This organization supports Black athletes in snow sports and helps them compete at an Olympic level. They also organize summits and youth programs to get Black skiers together to celebrate the sport and their involvement in it. Here is a cool video of one of their summits.
Skiing is the thing I love more than anything in this world. It has brought me endless joy and taught me everything about how I move through the mountains. For me, it is freedom of movement at it’s truest expression.
Please match my donation and help break down the barriers to the snow sports world.
Day 23: Donate to $5 Elijah McClain’s Family GoFundMe Have you heard of Elijah McClain? He was a sweet, gentle 23 year old from Aurora, Colorado. He worked as a massage therapist and loved playing the violin for cats on his lunch breaks (we would be best friends). He was tiny, 140 lbs, and anemic. Because of this he often wore lots of layers and a ski mask, even in summer, to stay warm.
On August 24, 2019, Elijah was walking home from picking up an iced tea. He had headphones in, a face mask on, and was dancing to his music. But as he was walking home, police stopped him on a call of “suspicious activity.” He was put in a carotid hold for 15 minutes. When first responders arrived, they dosed him with enough ketamine for a 220 lb man. He had two heart attacks in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and died 7 days later when he was taken off of life support. He was just walking home.
These were some of his last words recorded on bodycam footage: “I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. I am a vegetarian. I don’t judge people. I respect all life. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. And I’ll do it. All life I will. I will sacrifice. We/you are beautiful. Forgive me it hurts too much. I just can’t breathe correctly. I can’t breathe.”
He was just walking home. No charges were pressed. The police that violently took his life still work in Aurora.
Today I ran 2.83 miles and donated $5 to the GoFundMe set up for his family ($5 minimum). Learn more about what happened to Elijah and match my donation below. This thread has actionable steps you can take beyond a donation to demand justice for Elijah McClain.
Day 25: Donate $6.52 to A Second U Foundation (top right corner) Yesterday I ran 6.52 miles and donated $6.52 to A Second U Foundation. This is an incredible organization that gives incarcerated people a second chance through job placement as personal trainers. It works to make sure that “people coming home are not defined by their sentence, but given the tools need to be successful.” It’s a second chance and supportive community for those that need it the most. Read about their 6 week program that gives participants the hard and soft skills to excel as personal trainers and ensure job placement.
I know for fact that everyone on this email chain values fitness. We are runners, climbers, cyclists, hikers… We all know that fitness can be transformative and empowering. It creates community and a network of support. It can lead to powerful personal transformation and usually always comes along with a few healthy habits. Now, imagine if the framework of A Second U Foundation was state and federally funded as a means of rehabilitation? PS – ZERO participants have re-offended, hell yeah!
Match my donation because everyone deserves a second chance.
Day 29: Donate $4.53 to The Okra Project Today I ran 4.53 miles and donated $4.53 to The Okra Project. I absolutely LOVE what this organization does. They use food as a means to take on the crisis facing Black Trans people. Their main project involves fighting food insecurities within the trans community by offering free, healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant meals. To that end, they pay for Black Trans chefs to go to the homes of Black Trans people and cook for them. And all this work is powered by individual donors. One session costs $90, which we can fund if just 20 people match my donation!
Beyond providing free meals, The Okra Project offers tons of community programs, a cooking academy for Trans people to learn kitchen basics, group outings, and an emergency grocery fund. I can’t think of a better intersection of food and community justice. For those of you who know me, food has always been a passion. My love of food, the community it creates, and stories/culture it preserves might be why my two longtime friends decided I would be Antoni in our own rendition of Queer Eye… I firmly believe there is power, justice, and healing in food.
Day 30: Donate $5.82 to Black Girls Run Foundation Yesterday was the last day of my run for justice. I ran 5.82 miles and donated $5.82 to Black Girls Run Foundation. I wanted to honor the very thing that inspired this campaign – running – for my last donation. Black Girls Run aims to fight the obesity epidemic in the Black community and shows that yes, Black girls DO run! This organization provides community events and safe spaces for Black women and girls to enjoy running and form a relationship to health and fitness.
Thank you for following along with this fundraising effort! I feel incredibly humbled by the experience and have learned a TON about new organizations and racial justice issues. I have set up a Run For Justice campaign on Fundly for those who wish to contribute via a single donation. All donations will be split evenly among the organizations I donated to during this month. Please share this link with friends and family or anyone who might be interested in contributing! Donate to my #runforjustice campaign on Fundly
Or, If you have matched any of my daily donations, please let me know which days and the amount donated. firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: While Siobhan Kenney currently resides in California, we were inspired by her story, passion and initiative on this project. She does have a North Carolina connection as a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, and her story was shared with us by a sister UNC graduate. We hope this story inspires you to look for local, regional or national organizations making their own impacts on our community for change. We hope this story shows everyone that we can all contribute in so many ways, whether big or small, money or time, stories or hands-on support. One of the most amazing things about Siobhan’s journey is how she shines a light on the wide variety of organizations doing important work in our communities. ALL of this work matters. We are glad you are here with us, and we thank Siobhan for being willing to share her journey as well.
#RunForJustice #BlackLivesMatter #UseYourPower #WeCanDoThis