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Searching for Diverse Voices

When my older sister lived in Lakewood, Colorado, I passed a sign on the way to her house as I sped down Highway 6. "Welcome. We are building an inclusive community."

diverse voices

That sign always made me feel like all is right in the world: I pictured neighbors sharing lawn mowers; schools creating a space for all kinds of kids; town council meetings where everybody is respected and decisions are consensual. (Yes, I own my naivety—but I do love that sign.)

As we all know, all is not right in the world. Running used to be a way to escape from that fact. We can no longer afford to do that.

Pandemic aside, the past year has been a raw one. Uglier parts of our culture, like systemic racism and race-based injustice, are right in front of us, despite decades of trying to sweep them under the rug. Also coming into the forefront and deserving of attention: recognition of gender fluidity; body positivity (or at least neutrality); an emerging redefinition of family; and the mental health crisis, particularly acute in youth.

Sarah and I have always envisioned Another Mother Runner as an inclusive community: A place where any female can come, connect with other active women, grab some inspiration, a laugh and perhaps a gentle push out the door. That said, we realize come at it from our shared white, cis-gender, maternal (and vertically blessed) perspective.

Through ongoing work with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) expert, we have realized that our definition of inclusion, while well-meaning, needs to be blown out significantly. "Who benefits from your actions?," our DEI consultant asked us, "Who is left out of your actions? Who is not even at the table?" (And then she reminded us that being uncomfortable means you're doing the right thing.)

One of the most appealing things about running is virtually everybody should have a seat at the table—participants sometimes need to be asked to pull up a proverbial chair, though.

The simple movement can be accessible to most of us, and it has the potential to connect us deeply. At a race, total strangers share a couple miles, become friends, and hug at the finish line. On Instagram, a beginning, unsure runner sees a post from somebody who doesn't look like a typical runner, and feels validated. Through DM's, the two become training partners.

Building on the bonds running creates, we are committed to making AMR a truly inclusive community, and our first step is a call for more diverse voices. Our goal is to have our website and podcasts include perspectives of all stripes of runners: LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, people of color, size diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

We're looking for writers and/or podcast guests who are interested in sharing their perspectives; please fill out this form—and send it to anybody who you think would be a good match. (And you can also always reach us at [email protected].)

Yes, we've got more than a few miles ahead of us, but we're runners. We recognize that stepping out of our comfort zone is the path to growth, and the best way to get there is one step at a time.

23 responses to “Searching for Diverse Voices

  1. I’m excited for the growth and change and learning for the whole AMR community. Thank you for talking about this and being willing to get uncomfortable.

  2. I’ve always found AMR to be inclusive and welcoming. I’m not a mother or a runner yet I always enjoy hearing the stories of all kinds of athletes through the podcast and all kinds of points of view from the blog. I’m glad you’ll continue to do what you do AMR and expand to even more people who might have TMI questions or a curiosity around training.

  3. Thank you for doing this. Being very actively inclusive is important, as is discussing “uncomfortable” topics that too often go unaddressed, like systemic racism and heteronormative culture.

  4. When you know better, you do better. Thanks for recognizing the AMR team can do better. Count me in!

  5. Very happy to read this. You can see from the runners you pass that the whole community needs to be more inviting and inclusive.

  6. This dialogue is overdue. And more importantly, action and authentic engagement of a more inclusive community is essential. I have been a huge fan of this AMR for 10+ years but admit I drifted away a few years ago when I felt increasingly invisible. I didn’t feel like my multi-racial, neurodiverse family led by two moms was in the huddle of this group. There is so much that is wonderful about our BAMR tribe and I do lurk, but would love to feel both embraced and normal in this space.

  7. As the white mother of five, one of whom is a trans male, and one an adopted african american, I finally have the priviledge of understanding the diversity issues in a way that I wouldn’t have as a ‘white suburban mom’. Thank you for making this matter, even though there was never any exclusion intended. That is the point exactly…it happens everywhere, and is often unintended…we are learning so much about why it continues to matter, and why we should continue to grow and change…always for the better.

  8. Thank you. We have a responsibility to do this uncomfortable work to realize that the “naive” perspective is an inherently racially (and other) privileged one. Thank you for naming the reality that the AMR community is disproportionately cis gender hetero white women- and that we want more voices in our circle. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability and I look forward to this evolution.

  9. I personally believe that you guys are a warm and welcoming community to absolutely everyone. I would argue that it might be mostly on us, as the AMR community, to spread the word to a diverse group and find ways to introduce them to all of the wonderfulness that is AMR.

  10. Thanks for your honesty and forthrightness in addressing these issues! Never easy, always challenging to expand our awareness enough to recognize the realities of people who may be different than us. Much easier to deny what they’re saying. You help make us all better, more aware people.

  11. Question: when was the last time you (reader) personally discriminated against another woman or human being? Of if you have been discriminated against, what was the situation? Because I don’t believe it’s “everywhere” and “systemic”- because if it’s “everywhere” then I would love to hear the stories.

  12. This has been a long time coming and I’m glad to see AMR addressing it out loud. I look forward to seeing AMR become a more diverse space!

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