The annual Race for Freedom is a 5K run in order to invite members of the community to participate in a symbolic run in the northern direction in order to remember and honor the lives of those once enslaved at the University of Virginia. This 3.14 mile race is meant to honor ritual and begin the process of repair since all proceeds from the race will go towards the William and Isabella Gibbons Scholarship Fund and the Peyton Skipwith Vocational Training Program.
Each race participant will receive a race bib upon checking in that has their race number along with one fact about the history of the University and our ties with slavery. Our goal is that this initiative will raise awareness and promote education about the topic that is sometimes dismissed when talking about the University. By sharing simple, yet commonly unknown facts we hope to begin the process of educating the Charlottesville community both here at UVA and the greater surrounding areas.
Upon completion of the race, each participant will receive a Certificate of Honor and Completion. This certificate will read, “I ran to honor the life, labor, and legacy of (insert name of enslaved person). May this person’s past not go unnoticed and may we forever remember the impact this person had on the history of the University of Virginia .” The participant will have the opportunity to sign the certificate along with the participant book which keeps track of all participants from year to year who have participated in this symbolic event and have pledged their signature indicating that they stand in solidarity with representing the true history of Slavery at the University. We feel that this is just a small ritual to pay tribute to the many enslaved persons who played such an integral part in the building of this University and this community as a whole. By acknowledging some gruesome, painful realities that happened in the past, we are then able to try to move forward to begin the process of reconciliation and repair.