ATLANTA - Between huffs and puffs, FOX 5 followed Samedy Hong across the finish line at Piedmont Park.
"I don’t usually run, so I’m really tired, but I’m going to keep pushing to represent for my country and community," Hong said.
Hong, along with dozens of other Georgians, made the 3-mile trek, stomping out racism, following a year of surging hate crimes against Asian Americans and a horrific mass shooting that killed eight people. Six of those victims were Asian women.
Atlanta’s "Stop Asian Hate Run" gained international traction.
From Boston to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Winnipeg, Canada, runners pounded the pavement in more than 500 cities to stand in solidarity with the hurting AAPI community.
"There’s running, and then there’s a running with a cause," said James Ro, founder of the Atlanta Run Club and one of the event’s organizers. "I think when people come together and understand the meaning and the intent behind it, it becomes such a powerful mobilizer for something greater."
Together, people clocked in more than 19,000 thousand miles in one weekend – a remarkable sum that was matched by Lululemon in donations to local nonprofit, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.
"It really testifies to the unified spirit of Atlanta and what can happen if we centralize our efforts and energy to love," Ro said, in reference to the turnout.
"It’s a way for the Asian community to feel supported," said Shannon Booker, who first thought of the idea to hold a run. "It’s just like the Atlanta community giving the Asian community a big hug."
The effort is reminiscent of "I Run with Maud," which was prompted by the killing of a black 25-year-old, who was shot while jogging through a neighborhood on Georgia’s coast last year.
"We reached out to the Black community specifically and let them know, ‘Hey we want to do this for you, what can we do to elevate the platform and show support?’ And a year later they turned around and did the same thing for us," Ro explained.
Amid the devastation, the gesture offered a glimmer of hope and a sign of togetherness.
"Earlier, [Ro] was having trouble gathering himself to do something," said Bam Ford, a friend of Ro. "So, it’s good to be able to lean on each in this kind of event."
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