IRunWithMaud to host Sunday rally at Lakeview; reflects on summer
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It’s been five months since police officers killed George Floyd and the IRunWithMaud South Lake Tahoe organization has been active in the community non-stop.
One of the group’s organizers, Jen Dawn, sat down with the Tribune to reflect on those five months.
The group has often been lumped in with the Black Lives Matter movement, and while they do support BLM, they are much more than that. The group aims to advocate for all local social justice causes in a number of areas including police oversight and reform, education and environmental justice.
“We’re organizing to create a more equitable future for everybody, for all of our citizens, for anyone that connects with us and comes to our community,” Dawn said.
The police oversight branch of the organization has been incredibly active since May, from being outspoken about the police chief selection to working with new Chief David Stevenson on the South Tahoe Alternative Collaborative Services.
“One of the things that’s unfortunate is the terminology ‘defund the police,’” Dawn said. “It’s not really accurate to what we’re trying to do. It really is, ‘transform the police.’ It’s, let’s support the police and our community.”
And while the group is excited with the progress they’ve made with the police department and new chief, they say the work has just begun in the community.
“We’re just scratching the surface of the change that needs to happen and I think we’re kind of in a phase of breaking things up, kind of like shaking the foundation,” Dawn said.
An interesting part of South Lake Tahoe’s part in the national conversation is the make-up of the region. South Lake Tahoe is a predominantly white community and some of its biggest draws are sports and activities that are predominately white like climbing or skiing.
According to a 2016 climbing.com article, only 1.5% of USA climbing members identified as African American. In a letter from Vail CEO Rob Katz in June 2020 titled “We are part of the problem,” Katz said, “I am also confronted by the fact that our company and our sport are overwhelmingly white, with incredibly low representation from people of color. Over the past few years, we have begun to raise this topic, both internally and externally – emphasizing that inclusion and diversity ‘must be true’ at Vail Resorts, while also admitting that we have a long way to go.”
Dawn is also a board member of the Tahoe Climbing Coalition that has been trying to address the problem with their Climb UP program, which last year had 20 kids, half were people of color.
So, when drawing in visitors to the area, it’s important to make everyone feel welcome which Dawn said can happen through programs like Climb UP, through public art that is representative of people of color, education in the community or through electing public officials that are aware of and willing to address the racial inequities in the community.
One thing the IRunWithMaud group is focused on is not losing the forward momentum.
“In light of recent injustices, such as Breonna Taylor’s killers not being charged our need for action is more important than ever,” Dawn said. “We are trying to create change that lasts. Action and movement should not fade away in our feeds and memories. It is not about headlines and protests, it is about real reform and true justice. It starts now and continues every day. Vote like your lives depend on it!”
They are hosting a peaceful protest/rally from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Lakeview Commons.
The event was originally meant to celebrate council officially making Lakeview Commons a free speech zone. The council ultimately decided to declare all of South Lake a free speech zone which Dawn said is pretty cool.
The event will include many speakers speaking about environmental justice, LGBTQ-plus issues, health care, education and several other issues.
Dawn said the group strongly encourages people to wear masks and socially distance. They also reiterate that this is a peaceful event.
To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2635963450027302.
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