We’re celebrating Black History Month by putting a spotlight on the advocacy partnerships we’ve made, of which we are so proud. These incredible people and organizations inspire change and motivate us all to work toward a more equitable community, industry, and world.
The largest and fastest growing run club in the state, Detroit’s WeRun313 began a mission in 2019 to connect individuals through running and in doing so, build a healthier, happier community. Now with over 2,300 members and counting, they’ve not only built a stronger community, but also strong relationships, awareness, and a culture that changes the narrative of running communities not including people of color.
The story of our brand ambassador, Tommie, is an inspiration to all! Tommie turned his life around when he traded in drinking for running and veganism, giving him a new found sense of freedom, control, and wellbeing. Now an avid runner, he’s the host of his own podcast: Run. Eat. Sleep.; Owner of Chip Time Running; and Co-Host of the PR Project. He also qualified for the Boston Marathon, and continues to chase his goals in every distance from 5k to 26.2, with the most important goal of all in mind: to increase black visibility in a predominately white running space.
Alison Mariella Désir
We were so lucky to be a part of Alison Mariella Désir’s recent book tour! Her extraordinary book, “Running While Black”, draws from Alison’s experiences as a marginalized long-distance athlete, mental health advocate, and activist. Not only has she inspired us with this book, but she’s also inspired an exclusive Oiselle collection of active apparel. Ranging in size from XS to 3XL, even her clothing line exudes inclusivity.
In 2012, S.T.A.R.S. was born! Sisters Taking Action Reversing Statistics was created by Aliya Armstrong in an effort to tackle the alarmingly high rates of obesity and related health issues in African-American women. What started as a healthy church competition and a race with her daughter turned into a movement, and a mission: to encourage women and moms, especially those of color, to make health and fitness a priority. Running has been a big part of that mission and we are grateful for the resource S.T.A.R.S. provides to encourage women to move, as well as their many years of participation in and support of our signature event, She Runs Grand Rapids.
The Running Industry Diversity Coalition
The RIDC was formed with the recognition that a united front to inspire change was necessary to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the running industry. Through learning (as well as unlearning), and ongoing efforts, the RIDC and its members are working together to increase equitable employment, leadership, ownership, vendor partnerships, representation and more, with the vision of a running industry free of racial injustice and accessible to all – an industry where black, indigenous, and people of color are not just welcomed and valued, but amplified.
We are proud to carry many brands committed to making not only great products, but also a positive impact and difference in the world. One such brand is Janji, whose collections are inspired by different cultures and designed by local artists from locations all over the planet. 2% of all sales are then given to clean water initiatives to support the people and places from where their inspirations come. Their newest collection is inspired by the West Indies – a string of 24 Caribbean island states that together form a community of incredibly diverse cultures. Six different artists from these islands contributed to the designs, and 2% of these sales will go toward efforts to restore the watershed on the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.