A 5K Race Highlights the Road Traveled and the Road Ahead to Social Justice

The Race for Equity 5K logo

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 7, 2021) — Amelia Barbadoro competed in a few themed 5-kilometer road races before she began thinking about what theme she’d choose if she organized a 5K of her own. As the University’s director for Equity & Compliance, the choice was a natural, and it becomes realized on Saturday, Sept. 18, with The Race for Equity 5K.

“I wanted to highlight civil rights triumphs while bringing attention to current injustices,” said Barbadoro. “The goal is to educate our community about past accomplishments and apply those lessons towards fighting our current social justice battles.”

Amelia Barbardo, University at Albany director of equity and compliance
Amelia Barbadoro

It is a theme the runners, walkers and rollers in the event will be amply reminded of upon taking off from Bob Ford Field at Casey Stadium at 11 a.m. and circling Perimeter Road. Thirty “social justice stations” will be set up along the path for participants to glance at on-the-run or pause at and take time to gather educational materials and giveaways.

Each station will honor a social justice accomplishment, such as abolition, the Civil Rights Act and Brown v. Board of Education, or raise awareness about a current injustice, such as poverty and homelessness, wage inequity, and discrimination in our justice system.

“Although it is an officially timed race for runners, you do not have to be a runner to enjoy this 5K,” said Barbadoro, who expects about 500 registered participants.  Each will receive an Equity 5K Bag at race start, and a bracelet that grants them entry to a post-event party at Bob Ford Field, where the UAlbany vs. Syracuse football game will be played live on the Jumbotrons. Food and beverages will be available for purchase in the stadium.

Barbadoro thanks her co-hosts: Samuel Caldwell, interim chief diversity officer in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Ekow King, director of Intercultural Student Engagement; and, from the Men’s Basketball program, Head Coach Dwayne Killings and Director of Operations Dan Madhavapallil. “We make a great team,” she said.

Race entry for students is free and the fee for faculty and staff discounted, with all proceeds dedicated to scholarships for students who demonstrate a passion for social justice. Barbadoro noted that non-UAlbany participants are encouraged to enter, because the proceeds from their entries will produce the majority of scholarship support. Tickets can be obtained through the event website.

Barbadoro believes there is a timeliness to The Race for Equity 5K. “While the Civil Rights Movement in the United States between 1954-1968 marked federal-level successes in the crusade for equal protection under the law, it is 2021 and we continue to fight racial injustice and countless other inequities,” she said. She cited recent civil rights victories through the Supreme Court in the fight for same sex marriage and gender equity.

“With brilliant crusaders, such as our University at Albany students, focused on equity advancement, I am confident we will continue to successfully fight our battles for equitable treatment and equal opportunity in this country,” said Barbadoro.

She applauded the University for “literally being willing to shut down traffic to recognize our country's civil rights accomplishments and bring awareness to current injustices. That speaks volumes to the University's dedication to equity and social justice. The Race for Equity 5K is a great opportunity for us all to come together and learn from our successes as we carry on the torch lit by the Civil Rights Movement.”