By Teresa Pavia | September 20, 2021
This past Sunday UAlbany students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community participated in the first-ever 5K Race for Equity on campus. Setting off from Bob Ford Field and making a loop around school grounds, the event highlighted social justice accomplishments, current social injustices, and our university’s place in the fight for equality.
Amelia Barbadoro, Director of the University’s Equity & Compliance Office and Title IX Coordinator, organized the race with the goal in mind to bring attention to injustices as well as celebrating accomplishments. Along the running path, there were 30 “social justice stations” set up, with different themes for each. The tables highlighted a social justice accomplishment or brought attention to a current injustice.
A civil rights lawyer by trade, Barbadoro stated, “We do not have enough tables to list out all of the injustices...but, by looking at these accomplishments, we can draw lessons from them...this is what we’ve accomplished, these are the individuals who led us to these accomplishments, and now let’s look at the injustices that exist today.”
Sign up for the race was pay-as-you-wish, with all ticket proceeds going towards funding cash scholarships for UA students who are passionate about social justice. Likely opening in the spring semester, scholarship applications will include a brief essay in which students write about what they have done to fight injustices and why they are passionate about civil rights. Mirroring the theme of the event in fighting for equity, Barbadoro stated, “having it be cash was very important to me because students will use it for different things. You have individuals who are food insecure, individuals who need help buying clothing, you have students with different needs, particularly students of lower socioeconomic statuses, and so I feel that by providing them with a cash scholarship they’ll have the flexibility to purchase what they need.”
An exercise in reflecting on our past as well as looking toward the future, the 5K Race for Equity brings attention and awareness to our society’s most pressing needs and our greatest accomplishments.