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Virtual 5k Raises Funds and Awareness Around Racial Injustice

Discouraged by the barrage of news about COVID-19 and police brutality, Dayna Keene wanted to do something to make a positive impact. 

An alumni of the Peace Corps who is passionate about public health, she certainly had some awareness of her own privilege as a white person within systems of racial inequity. Yet, it wasn’t until the tragic murder of George Floyd that she began to understand the depth and breadth of the issue. 

After learning about Public Allies in Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, Dayna was inspired to reach out. She felt affinity with our work to overcome barriers to meaningful and family-sustaining employment for people of color, and wanted to help however she could. Her plan: A virtual 5k fundraiser.

Drawing upon her large network of friends, family, co-workers, former classmates, and fellow Peace Corps alumni, Dayna set out to recruit her “#KeeneOnEquality” runners. She didn’t want this to be just another 5k, though, so she included in her invitation a two-page personal reflection on the important reasons for hosting the event.

“I am seeing more clearly as too many black lives are lost in America because cell phones are now capturing what has been happening for centuries. I am listening and finally taking the time to learn why,” she wrote.

Dayna hoped other white 5k participants would join her in these crucial conversations around racism and privilege, however uncomfortable it may feel. The many positive replies she received were heartening. 

Thanks to Dayna’s efforts, 68 people across 15 states and 2 countries participated in the 5k, ultimately raising close to $2,500 for Public Allies.

Photos of the participants were compiled in this slideshow video, created by Nathan Bull: