2nd Annual #Run4AAPI Run Promotes Community Solidarity

Hosted by Asian Society and sponsored by CaMD, Andover participated in the second annual #Run4AAPI Virtual Run, an event aimed to raise awareness and visibility for the AAPI community through donations, gatherings, and social media posts from May 7 to 8.

#Run4AAPI raised $2,500 from participants globally, ranging from the United Kingdom, Taiwan, to New York. The organization donates money gathered from selling “Stop AAPI Hate” merchandise, which anyone can purchase and wear while they participate in a physical activity of their choice. People then have the option to post to their socials using #Run4AAPI.

Bryan Chyu ’23, a member of the Asian Society who helped spread the news for the event, explained how this year, CaMD offered to sponsor merchandise for the first ten to fifteen people who signed up. Chyu thought that students’ coming together alongside CaMD’s efforts, promoted a sense of solidarity important for combating discrimination in the community and beyond.

“We ran together at the track, it wasn’t a mandatory thing, people had the option to just run by themselves and send the photo in, or gather as a group and run together next to the track in Snyder. And I think it was important to maintain that spirit of solidarity within our own community [at Andover], because in order to achieve bigger goals, we should focus on ourselves first, to start out small,” said Chyu.

Midori Ishizuka, Instructor in History and Social Science, explained the importance of such events as a reminder for the prevalent incidents within our society, especially in regards to those which are quickly swept through the news.

“I think when we have issues that become important to us in the aftermath of big, visible [events], on the nationwide level stage, it so happened that last year for the Asian American Pacific Islander community [one of those events] was the Atlanta Shootings of the women, I think that we get very active, and that launched the whole stop AAPI hate alongside a lot of the anti-Asian sentiment that was a result of COVID and the uptake in hate crimes. I think we have a lot of energy in moments like that to do stuff like this, gather, run, protest, have vigils, and then it dies down, because there’s always something new in the news, people get busy and people forget. I think having something that reminds us periodically that it’s still an issue, that we haven’t solved all our problems as a country, as a society, that there is still anti-Asian sentiment, anti-Asian hate crimes, anti-Asian violence that occurs, is important,” said Ishizuka.

Ishizuka also noted that such events should instead fuel people into making progressive change or come together as a community to recognize these problems. She believes that the run was an effective way for the community to gather, raise awareness, and have fun.

Ishizuka continued, “I also think that only focusing on those really heartbreaking, tragic, traumatic incidents, is not necessarily going to be the way forward. Having community based activities like this sort of run, and especially in the way that it hybrids this virtual world of the # and social media, you can do it any time, any place, [shows] that there are smaller communities, like hopefully ours in the future if we do it again, that can bring their communities together. It reminds us that there’s joy, community, solidarity, and allyship, even amidst these really horrific events and trends in the world.”

Further emphasizing the solidarity of engaging together in the run, Sarah Pan ’24, shared the sense of hope and inspiration that comes from seeing people gather together for a single cause. According to Pan, the run served as a meaningful and effective way to help combat AAPI hate.

“I think for me it’s just really inspiring that people are able to get together and to run for a good cause and especially in times where COVID has caused a lot of Anti-Asian sentiment among America, to see people coming together in solidarity and to also have this money going to tangible actions, to deal with Anti-Asian hate, it’s just really empowering, and I think it’s a really good cause. I’m pretty sad that I wasn’t able to be a part of it, but definitely next year it’s something that I’m looking forward to,” said Pan.

Despite the event’s small-scale this year due to timing issues, participants and other community members expressed the run’s potential as a larger event in the future. Ishizuka shared her hopes for the run, which was only started in 2020, to incite greater participation through advertisements next year.

“I’m just hoping that we can keep it going, and keep the momentum up. I think if we could get more attraction earlier on so that we can advertise it more, that would help. I actually think it could be a really big event, which I think is awesome, and that’ll be up to the next Asian Society or the next group that wants to take it on,” said Ishizuka.