Saturday, November 24, 2012

Running for Hope

Come January 2013, Run4Roots participants will be running the Miami Half Marathon at the same time as youth in Cuba run a parallel race. This historical occasion will build a bridge and connect two communities who yearn to know each other and innovate together. As the reality of our counterparts on the island continues to change, this is more important than ever. 

Here is the story of Maritza, who ran with Run4Roots in 2012 and will be hitting the pavement again in 2013. Check out her reason for running and step up to join her by registering here! It's time to hit the ground running for something YOU believe in. 

I Run Because I Hope
By Maritza A.

It's about the rarity of one action occurring at the same time in two very close but distant countries. The politics, frustration, anger, and dejection on both sides come to a halt for a moment where we stand in parallel side by side armored in unity and love. Miami and Cuba running in parallel...doing anything in parallel is symbolic of the deeply seeded emotional and heartfelt roots that we carry for the youth in Cuba. There's this unspeakable bond where you know the heart of what's on either side longs for each other. The youth in Cuba face a world of unknowns and hardship. While they 'live it up' just like us, it's a vastly different world behind closed doors. I get to face hope everyday in its eyes. We stare each other down and see where my next big step is going to take me. Reminds me of Emily Dickinson's "Hope" below.

"Hope" by Emily Dickinson

That perches in the soul, 

And sings the tune--without the words, 
And never stops at all,
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

Hope is the thing with feathers 
And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
I've heard it in the chillest land, 

Those of us who have freedom of speech take some small chances at life sometimes because we take opportunity for granted. The idea of what you can accomplish tomorrow and your 'next steps' in your career is nearly a vanished thought in the daily life of a Cuban youth. We get to envision a future colored with travel, exploration, education...whatever we want. I get to dream BIG, because those dreams can come true. But if you knew they couldn't ever become true under a government that's eradicated any tolerance for freedom of speech and economic willpower, would you keep hoping? This idea of "hope" and "change" for the youth of Cuba is truncated by a volatile economic and political state. I run for the Cuban youth, and we run together because they CAN be the authors of their own futures. It's demonstrated in this half marathon. We run in parallel on one day because we stand for hope, change, and freedom of choice. This is change. This is hope staring us in the face.

Register to run with us and start the year by making a tangible impact in the lives of youth just 90 miles from our shores! If you still need some convincing, check out photos from last year's race on our Facebook page.

No comments: