On March 16, a 21-year-old white man went on a shooting spree at three Atlanta spas, where he killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. The attack shed light on the ever-increasing rate of anti-Asian hate crimes, which have especially been on the rise in the U.S. and elsewhere since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To support the victims of this senseless attack and the Asian American community as a whole, Atlanta Run Club (ARC) started a fundraiser for Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Atlanta (AAAJ-Atlanta), and the group raised $19,000 in just two days.
Before the March 16 attacks in Atlanta, ARC already had a regular fundraising initiative titled Miles for Change. As noted on the ARC website, Miles for Change is a “cornerstone campaign” of the run club, and they use it to raise awareness and funds for various causes around Atlanta.
The original cause ARC was running for in March was for Buford Highway, which is “known to be one of the most culturally diverse regions of Atlanta.” Running for “BuHi,” as Atlantans know it, ARC was looking to raise money for the community’s at-risk families, and this part of the campaign was set to run from early February until the end of April.
After the shootings in Atlanta, though, ARC announced plans to shift the Miles for Change fundraising efforts, and for 48 hours, the club raised money for AAAJ-Atlanta. The club held an in-person run on March 20, but runners everywhere were able to show their support for the cause by joining ARC’s Strava group and logging miles there.
With the support of Lululemon, ARC pledged to donate $1 to AAAJ-Atlanta for every mile run on March 20 and 21, and participants ultimately ran a whopping 19,559 miles (31,400 kilometres) for a grand total of close to $20,000 raised (more than C$24,000).
“As someone who identifies as an Asian-American in Atlanta, I cannot help but be stirred from recent events,” ARC founder James Ro wrote in a statement. “For myself and many other fellow Asians, we are afraid for our close friends, parents and other family members. But when when others perpetuate hate, there is always an opportunity to respond with love and education. ARC invites the Atlanta family to express and demonstrate solidarity with the Asian community.”
After the wildly successful fundraiser, the Miles for Change campaign has once again returned to focusing on its efforts to support the city’s BuHi community.