Zachary Meredith via Crowdrise
March 04, 2011
BENEFITING: Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Mar 20, 2011
In a little less than three weeks, I am going to embark on the foolish journey that is the LA Marathon. It's my first one. Should make for a pretty intense day. Training has been less than exhilarating in this particularly bleak nYc winter (which I drastically underestimated). And with no running partner this winter or on race day (thanks for nothing, Jake!) the experience has been and will be both physically brutal and emotionally exhausting. At the end of the day, however, running is just running, an act of leisure where I get to put on my fancy running shoes and stride down the Westside Highway looking sweaty (and handsome).
I'd like to run for something bigger. A cause that I believe is deserving of your support. I am going to run this marathon on behalf of Harlem United, the community based organization where I presently work part-time as a social work intern. Harlem United provides its clients, the majority of whom are people living with HIV/AIDS whose diagnoses are often complicated by addiction, mental illness, and homelessness, with access to a full range of medical, social, and supportive services. Many clients also face significant barriers to care due to poverty, race, HIV status, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. Black Men's Initiative, the prevention-focused suborganization where I work, provides gay, bisexual, and questioning young men of color—many of whom struggle with a complex range of issues that include abandonment; physical, sexual, and psychological abuse; severe mental health issues; in addition to all of the issues that everyone encounters with family, relationships, and finding one's place and role in this world (as if those weren’t enough)—with mental health counseling, risk reduction counseling, psychoeducational groups, testing services, and vocational skill building, all within a supportive and empowering space. My work with these young men has primarily consisted of individual support counseling. This engagement has not only conveyed the inherent worth of each of these remarkable and resilient individuals, but also that there continues to be vast and pervasive oppression, discrimination, prejudice, and pronounced inequities in a nation whose professed first principles claim otherwise. These silenced and marginalized people deserve to have their voices and their experiences acknowledged and valued. Harlem United and Black Men’s Initiative seek to accomplish that.
I ask that you donate $5 or $10 (the cost of one or two beers at your local tavern) on their behalf. Such a donation would be incredibly generous and will place you in the Zachary Haskell Meredith Lifetime Hall of Fame. If you want to be a show off and donate more than that, (a) you are a rock star, and (b) I will get your name tattooed on my butt after the race.