The Marathon of Respect and Equality (MORE) was held on Thursday, May 3, 2018- and visited each community in Pictou County, including Pictou Landing First Nation.
The Educational Theme for MORE 2018 was Still on the Journey! The 29th annual event of its kind celebrates the uniqueness of each of us and encourages everyone to be confident of their own inherent worth and value. MORE 2018 is one more step in our community’s journey toward justice, one more positive and optimistic action to help bend the arc of history toward a world of equality and respect for everyone.
The event comprised of a 18-mile run throughout Pictou County, a run which features hundreds of runners (some who go all day, some who just run a leg of the route), and rallies held in each community in our county.
Background on MORE
From 1990-2009, we in Pictou County were fortunate to be the location of Henderson Paris’ remarkable Run Against Racism.
In response to a very personal encounter with racism, Henderson decided to educate and raise awareness about the blight of racism by completing a 38-mile ultra marathon which took him to every community in Pictou County.
For the next 20 years, as Henderson and his team continued their Run Against Racism,
•A generation of school children had Hennie as an outstanding role model to teach them how they should treat one another
•A generation of adults had an inspiring leader in the fight against racism and discrimination
•A generation of people marginalized by racist attitudes or any other form of discrimination had a champion to give them support and hope
Henderson’s efforts and those of his wife, Carol, and their whole RAR committee, had a tremendous impact: Pictou County is a beautiful, warm and tolerant community-and Hennie’s role in helping to nurture that is well documented and clear.
After 20 great years, Henderson announced his Run Against Racism was ending in 2009.
Though everyone understood Henderson and Carol’s decision to end the RAR, there still seemed to be a profound sense of loss- no one wanted Hennie to leave the stage, so to speak.
While Hennie’s Run had no doubt made a huge difference, everyone recognized that racial intolerance and the marginalization of people for a variety of discriminatory reasons were still present. The fight Hennie had fought so well was not fully won and his Run’s ending would leave a real void.
This set the stage for the Marathon of Respect and Equality.
To try to continue Henderson and Carol’s excellent work, MORE was created with three goals in mind:
•to combat and eliminate racial discrimination
•to provide and promote education around racial sensitivity and tolerance for young and old alike
•to provide support and reason for hope for all people marginalized in our society.
MORE incorporated the old Run Against Racism logo, which everyone recognized and which Henderson so graciously allowed the committee to co-opt, with the new acronym M-O-R-E, which encourages us all to jump in and do more for this worthy cause.
MORE has been designed to reflect certain key principles, taken from the example set by Hennie over all those 20 years:
It is a continuation of Hennie’s work in his original Run Against Racism and its purposes are to end racial discrimination and to promote respect and equality for whoever is in any way marginalized or disrespected in our society.
MORE is inclusive and non-competitive- in keeping with Henderson’s slogan, “Together we can make a difference”, the organizing committee encourages all events and activities associated with MORE to be welcoming, collegial and cooperative in nature.
MORE focuses on education and raising awareness- education which is positive, non-judgmental and encouraging. Over 20 years ago, in response to a deeply hurtful event, Hennie and his wife, Carol, made the decision to use his athletic gifts to educate and promote understanding rather than to become bitter or angry or recriminating; it is this example MORE wishes to follow.
MORE’s organizers want the words and actions of our municipal leaders, our students, our business leaders, all the citizens of Pictou County to be reflective of the same commitment Hennie, Carol and their committee demonstrated for the Run Against Racism’s twenty years.