The Second Annual 2014 2k “Rainbow Run” took place this past Saturday, Sept. 27 from 6-8 p.m. on Millersville’s campus. The race was free of charge to Millersville students and staff and was hosted by MU’s Housing and Residential Program. Based off of the popular 5k Color Run that takes place in various cities throughout America each year, this race was established to support and bring awareness to the LGBTQIA community one color at a time.
What makes this race so unique is the paint involved, as participants are encouraged to wear white when they pass by three different paint throwing stations where seven possible colors have the potential to become flung upon attendees. The first 200 people who registered for the event were given free white T-shirts.
Jordan Drolet, a GA at the South Villages who was one of the students in charge of the event, was excited about the community’s response. “This is our second annual one and we have an even bigger turnout than last year. It’s something fun for residents to do on campus, and we are proud to be supporting the LGBTQIA community and raising public knowledge,” she said.
After receiving instructions and some inspirational words while sitting in the MPR, students were organized into three different groups and led outside to begin the race, being assured that anyone who didn’t want to have color thrown on them simply yell the safe word— “Oklahoma.”
In the corner of the room with two different poster boards sat Anastasia Kraus, a math education major and the current treasurer for both MU’s Silencing the Hate and Allies: The GSA @ MU. “I was raised in a household that supported diversity. The fact that I am going to be a teacher means that I need to create a safe space for my students. If I can’t keep my students safe, how can I teach them math?” she said.
Silencing the Hate is a group that ends oppression that formed around the National Day of Silence, a day where LGBTQIA youth are silent to show how silence is ultimately detrimental.
On the other hand, Allies is a group for the LGBTQIA community and their allies to hold discussions and events to educate people, with the purpose of also entertaining, so the events feel like they aren’t simply lectures, said Kraus.
As Kraus left with a fresh list of individuals interested in joining both organizations, the quad soon became alive as the first students who had finished the loop around Gaige came through the finish line, already sporting colorful clothing from having run through two paint stations previously.
A handful of students from MU’s Amnesty International were standing on the quad holding handmade signs and cheering to support the racers. “One of our focuses this semester is human rights, and here we are supporting them because we are not good runners,” said Casey Prosick, a member of the organization. Along with the sign holders from Amnesty International were the students throwing the last bit of paint on those who ran through the finish line.
“It’s very messy, but fun,” said LaShaunta Smith, an RA in the South Side Suites.
“It is so fun to see their reactions, and how much they react to it,” said Anna Bongardner, also an RA for the South Side Suites.
Melanie Ragon, a meteorology major and runner in the race, has participated once before. “Last year I did the Rainbow Run because I am a member of GSA. People come together and it’s a lot of visual support on campus for LGBTQIA,” she said.
Around 7 p.m., as darkness started to settle over the campus and the race was coming to a close, animated students still laughed amongst each other in the quad, perhaps at their newfound messy appearances. Marshall Hild, a man who also helped run the event was jumping and hugging other students, before getting a moment to speak. “This means a lot to me because I am a gay man. It makes me so happy to see so many people having so much fun with color. I really hope we can do it again next year,” he said.
To further support this community, Millersville University’s first-ever LGBTQIA Pride Festival will take place this Friday, Oct. 3rd from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the SMC Promenade and Patio.