Kaysie Getty—The Civil Rights Race Series

Image (6)Senior Program Analyst Kaysie Getty recently participated in The Civil Rights Race Series, foot and bike races that take place along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and are designed to honor and highlight major cities and historic events that took place during the civil rights movement. Race organizers create events that commemorate pivotal Civil Rights moments and places through education, wellness, and economic development. Kaysie, with her relay team Necessary Trouble, participated in the Selma to Montgomery 51 Mile Bike Ride and Relay Race. Her reflections are below.

When people ask me how my races are my natural reaction is to say “Great”. However, with this race I’m still my processing my feelings and trying to find the right words to describe it. Yes, it was a great race and yes, I’m smiling in the picture I took on Edmund Pettus Bridge but deep down inside there is sadness and grief as I think about what took place on the bridge and the 54 mile walk from Selma to Montgomery only 59 years ago.

The Civil Rights Race Series puts on a series of races with the Selma to Montgomery 51 Mile Bike Ride and Relay Race being one of them. The race commemorates the non-violent demonstration led by Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy and many more who took the 54 mile walk over 5 days from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to fight for the right to vote for African Americans.

This was my first time attending a race out of town and I’m glad I chose this race as my first. I was on a relay team of 7 with our team name: Necessary Trouble. My leg of the race was 6.2 miles and if you’ve ever been on Route 80 it’s just road with little civilization and 18 wheelers riding bye. All I could think of was “they were really out here walking” and when it got rough between the heat and the hills I just kept saying “If they walked, you can run.

This race will always be held near to heart because it symbolizes the freedom to exercise my right to vote but how far we still have to go in this country.