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Race + Inclusion in the NYC Running Community - NYRR Petition


NYC Running IDEA started this petition to New York Road Runners

Race + Inclusion in the NYC Running Community - NYRR Petition

09.13.2020


We are the runners of New York City. We are members of New York Road Runners (NYRR). We are runners and volunteers at NYRR races. We are participants in and supporters of NYRR’s events and programs. While we have supported NYRR, we have grown increasingly frustrated with NYRR’s inability to recognize its racial biases and its institutional racism. 


The time for silent acquiescence has passed. We demand that NYRR make a clear, public, and time-bound plan to address its shortcomings as related to racial bias and inequality. Lacking meaningful and timely change by NYRR to address these shortcomings, we will no longer be able to support or endorse the organization’s events and activities. Rather, as the NYC running and racing communities continue to grow, we will instead find and actively endorse and support alternative organizations that demonstrate their commitment to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) runners. 


We recognize NYRR’s announcement on June 17, 2020 noting the creation of a Community Council and some other proposed actions. However, this is not enough. As the de facto leader in the NYC running community, NYRR should strive to always grow and uphold values that are just, fair, and righteous for everyone in our diverse community. 


Therefore, we propose the following immediate changes:


Broaden and diversify NYRR's perspective to better include underrepresented or marginalized communities, thereby fostering long-term relationships and commitment to these communities.

Action items:

1) Change the NYRR mission and core values statements to ensure that the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion are a part of the organization going forward.

2) Actively recruit, hire, and promote qualified BIPOC executives so that NYRR leadership reflects the makeup of NYRR’s staff, NYRR members and customers, and the multi-ethnic runners of NYC. Prioritize filling the vacant VP of DEI senior leadership role to organize and direct diversity, inclusion and education efforts. Continue to work with consultants to assess and improve diversity and inclusion within and throughout NYRR, including in its programs and events. 

Address inequality embedded in organizational practices, particularly those related to racing.

Action items:

1) Equitably grant elite entries to runners of color in a transparent manner that rewards performance over membership in a particular club.

2) Remove barriers to race registration that disproportionately impact runners of color, and those without access to computers, the internet, or credit cards. 
- runners should be able to register for all races with a check or by cash or money order in person at the Run Center;
- provide a process for runners without access to computers or an email address to come to the Run Center and receive assistance in creating a profile in order to participate in races; and, 
- provide support and communications in various languages for services and events (e.g., membership registration/renewal, race registration, runner profile creation, volunteering, etc).

3) Expand the geographic footprint of races, so that more races are held in areas other than elite, predominantly white neighborhoods, even if it means that NYRR must spend more money for permits and road closures.

Support and celebrate the diversity of NYC's running community.

Action items:

1) Expand opportunities for participants in the NYRR Open Run events, which feature more BIPOC runners, to gain complimentary entry into the flagship NYRR events. 

2) Address runner safety issues and expand runner safety to incorporate issues for BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women runners through education and advocacy work.

3) Celebrate the diversity of the NYC running community by creating events in celebration of different heritage months/days such as Black History Month.

4) Better promote Ted Corbitt’s presidency throughout the Run Center by among other things: 
- moving his statue into a more prominent location in the Run Center, rather than hiding it in the corner; and,
- celebrating Ted’s presidency throughout NYRR’s social media channels, beyond promotion of the Ted Corbitt 15K.

We expect a timely response to fully and substantively address the issues noted above and our demands and proposals. To this end, please provide us with your response within the next 21 days at nyc.running.idea@gmail.com

Signed,

The Runners of New York City