Womxn Run The Vote Relay Raises $270,620 For Black Voters Matter
September 28, 2020
10,000 participants virtually explored historic Civil Rights sites along the 686-mile course
Washington, D.C. – September 28, 2020 – The Womxn Run the Vote Virtual Relay, co-sponsored by Oiselle and Run 4 All Women, raised $270,620 for Black Voters Matter. 10,000 participants paired off into 667 teams to cover the 686-mile virtual journey from Atlanta, GA to Washington, D.C. from September 21-27.
Over the span of seven days, relayers logged 401,838 miles, more than 16 times around Earth or to the moon and over halfway back. 75 physical activities could be logged and converted to miles on the route to provide an inclusive experience to participants of varying fitness capabilities. Teams of 15-20 people journeyed through Civil Rights sites receiving alerts with mini-history lessons as they reached each location along the route. The Womxn Run the Vote Virtual relay is inspired by the 1977 International Women’s Torch Relay that celebrated Title IX while simultaneously pushing for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Community organizers have long recognized the power of physical movement in civil rights activism.
“In 2020, the ERA has still not been ratified and voter suppression of Black and Brown citizens continues,” said Run 4 All Women founder Alison Désir. “We came up with this beautifully crazy idea of reimaging a relay event along the Civil Rights Trail to allow our community to reconnect with such an important part of our history and also project its aspirations onto our future.”
One of the foundational principles of the relay is to elevate Black and Brown voices. During their quest for voting rights, the suffragettes systematically excluded Black women from visibility within the suffrage movement, and consequently blocked them from the fruits of their victory as well. Relay organizers strived to counteract this imbalance through their activism efforts in 2020.
“By showing up for this relay, imperfectly as we are, we are making a commitment to engage in anti-racism work,” said Oiselle athlete Lauren Fleshman. “Womxn can come together for more than womxn, we can come together to fight voter suppression. The evolution of our feminism is critical at this time.”
The beneficiary of the relay is Black Voters Matter. Founded in 2016 by LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter is dedicated to increasing power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities.
“We created Black Voters Matter to invest in Black led grassroots groups,” said Brown. “At any point in time, we’re working with at least 200 to 300 organizations connecting them with tools so that they can do their powerful work. Voter suppression is real. That’s why we need to focus the attention on the fact that you matter. You have agency. Not just because of what the state gives you, but you, as a human being, have agency. What we know is that when we work together, we win.”
Learn more about the Womxn Run the Vote Virtual Relay here and via the hashtag #WomxnRuntheVote.
About Black Voters Matter
Black Voters Matter Fund is dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement and increasing progressive power through movement-building and engagement. Working with grassroots organizations, specifically in key states in the South, BVMF seeks to increase voter registration and turnout, advocate for policies to expand voting rights/access, and help develop infrastructure where little or none exists to support a power-building movement that keeps Black voters and their issues at the forefront of our election process. For more information, please visit https://www.blackvotersmatterfund.org/.
About Run 4 All Women
Run 4 All Women is a community-based organization dedicated to empowering women through fitness. Founded by Alison Mariella Désir in 2017, we ran over 260 miles to advance the conversation around women’s reproductive rights. In 2018, we launched a nationwide voter registration initiative, rooted in local running communities. In 2020, we are helping to inspire and empower people as the country begins the long healing process brought on by a global pandemic. We invite all to come run, virtually, in the footsteps of civil rights pioneers, all the way from Atlanta to Washington DC with Womxn Run The Vote, a Virtual Relay for Real Change.
Founded in 2007, Oiselle is an athletic apparel company dedicated exclusively to the needs of female athletes. Based in Seattle, Oiselle embodies the notion that running is more than a physical activity, but also a philosophy that helps women increase their courage, confidence, and health. A French word for bird, Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) alludes to the feeling of independence and flight that most runners know; when the legs go fast and the heart goes free. Connect with Oiselle on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.