Los Angeles-based nonprofit Our Own isn't just getting people to rock the vote — they're inspiring them to run full speed towards the Nov. 3 election. As part of its mission is to serve L.A.'s Black and Brown communities through a range of mental, emotional, and physical health programs, the organization launched Run the Ballot, a voter education 5k run and bike ride.
The first run took place on Aug. 29 and brought out over 150 supporters to Leimart Park. On Sept. 19, Our Own is taking the event to Oakland's Red Bay Coffee, a café founded by local Black artist and food entrepreneur Keba Konte.
As part of its voter registration initiative, Learn The Ballot, the series of socially-distanced in-person runs are designed to cultivate civic engagement and make legislative education accessible to underserved youth. Runners and bikers will see boards along their route that interpret California's 12 ballot propositions.
Run The Ballot is an extension of Our Own's voter registration tour, Our Own Vote, an initiative that harnesses Black and Brown communities' passion for social justice and economic equality. Our Own Vote first popped up on Aug. 8 at Sip and Sonder, a coffee house in Inglewood founded by Black female entrepreneurs, Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas. Attendees enjoyed free cold brew and sounds from L.A.-based DJ and founder of See You Soon, Earry Hall, while registering to vote and learning the ballot.
Our Own has used the age of the coronavirus to further propel its mission to make purpose popular. In April, through their COVID-19 Relief Fund, the group supplied 6,000 bags of fresh produce to families in need across the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The impetus: About 23.5 million people live in food deserts, the majority of which are Black families.
Shortly after, in June, The nonprofit organization partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and Salvation Army to distribute over 2,000 meals to families experiencing food insecurity, in addition to $2,500 worth of gift cards to local grocery stores.
Interested? Learn more about Our Own and find out how to get involved here.