Monday, September 22, 2014

Update - Special Olympics Washington Apologizes, sort of.

Special Olympics Washington tweeted to me this:
Special Olympics WA@SO_Washington
@Lollardfish Our apologies. The intent was not to glamorize or offend. The name has been changed to “Run with the Cops”. Plz read below:
They then deleted that tweet (hence no link), but later re-confirmed that they are changing the name.

Here's their statement in full. I offer a few thoughts.

It was started by a police officer. I believe in his good intentions.
Since the first “Run from the Cops” here in Kennewick, other LETR programs in the US have contacted us soliciting the specifics of the run in order to create their own “Run from the Cops” SO fundraiser. I personally have been contacted by three other US state programs who have started their own events.
The Run was not intended to be a negative reflection of law enforcement, nor was it intended to glamorize the act of “running from the police.” It is solely designed to be a fun, family‐oriented event, ultimately benefitting Special Olympics. In the three years we have hosted the “Run from the Cops”, we have raised gross funds of approximately $28,000, and touched at least 1000 people, just counting the actual participants.

On a personal note, had it not been for the “Run from the Cops” here in Kennewick, I would not have had the opportunity to meet Joshua. The attached photo shows Joshua competing again this year at our Run. He has competed every year, and absolutely loves the opportunity to be involved. His mother has expressed to me her personal gratitude as Joshua looks forward to our event all year long.       
I believe that he and Joshua have a good relationship.I believe that they have raised money. I am sure that other privileged communities think, "oh, that's fun and funny!" That's wrong.

I want you to imagine a group dedicated to relieving poverty in minority communities held a "run from the cops" event.

So, with protests of having meant well, Special Olympics is changing its events. It's a small start. I hope they think long and hard about what it means that so many communities don't see running from the cops as something that's funny.

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