Community Briefs: March 11, 2022

Illustration by Ash Cheshire.

Local running nonprofit embraces nonbinary runners via collab with RunSignUp

In an effort to be more inclusive of nonbinary runners, Students Run Philly Style (SRPS), a youth running and mentorship nonprofit, teamed up with RunSignUp for its charity runner registration and fundraising. In January, RunSignUp, a race registration and fundraising platform, publicly announced its support of nonbinary runners. SRPS students pushed for the inclusion of nonbinary folks in its registration via the organization’s OUTPace program, which fosters resources, activities and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ students and allies.

“What it means for me to be a non-binary runner is that I get to be myself and not wear a facade when it comes to doing everyday things like running,” SRPS student Zen said in a press release.  

SRPS is not the first running organization to open its heart and registration to nonbinary runners; The Philadelphia Distance Run became the first big-name road race in the U.S. to create a nonbinary division, which offers equal prize money for nonbinary runners. On the heels of RunSignUp’s announcement of its inclusion of nonbinary runners, hundreds of races have adopted nonbinary registration for their events, including the Blue Cross Broad Street Run and the Philadelphia Marathon. 

“This is a change that we, and many of our customers, have wanted to make for a long time,” RunSignup Founder and CEO Bob Bickel said in a press release. “We are grateful that customers like Students Run Philly Style have continued to push us to come up with solutions, and in return, we hope this can help the endurance community embrace more diversity.”

WWCC launches Build the Way series 

As part of its project to rebuild and expand its community center space, the William Way LGBT Community Center team launched the campaign Build the Way to support the renovation project.  

The campaign features videos highlighting the center’s programs and spaces to enhance awareness and illustrate how staff hope to grow the organization. The first video in the series features the artwork of Philly artist Aiesha Dhas, who discusses how she initially connected with the community center. “I had questions about how to come out, should I even come out, was I even really queer? In that first phone call I felt such a huge wave of relief because I finally had somebody who had been there and understood,” Dhas said in the video. 

Through its social media platforms, the community center has highlighted other artists that have contributed to Build the Way, including the center’s exhibiting artist Joe Klaus, and Robert Reinhardt, whose work will be part of the 16th Annual Group Art Exhibition opening in May.   

As the Build the Way project progresses, “we’ll continue to highlight different programs and building amenities, and hear more from folks who use and run these programs,” said Renee Gilinger, who is spearheading the project. “We are very excited to publicly announce the campaign in June and we look forward to sharing more about this important project.”

For updates on the series, visit William Way on social media.

2022 Election updates

Malcolm Kenyatta was the first candidate to file his petitions to appear on the primary ballot for U.S. Senate this May. “We turned in over double the required amount, from seven counties — in just a few days,” Kenyatta wrote in a Twitter post. “Major kudos to my volunteers and staff!” If elected, he would be the first out gay male U.S. senator, and the first Black senator from Pennsylvania. His main competition for the primary are Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb. 

The first LGBTQ person of color to serve in the Pa. General Assembly, Kenyatta has represented Philadelphia’s 181st district in the state legislature since 2019. Some of his political priorities include fighting for equity and inclusion, raising the minimum wage, protecting the rights of workers, expanding our democracy and protecting voting rights, ensuring easy access to healthcare and working to stem the effects of climate change.

Also in the Senate primary, Steel City Stonewall Democrats, Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ political organization, endorsed Lamb at their February endorsement meeting. Although Lamb was initially elected to Congress in a fairly conservative Pennsylvania district, many of his priorities fall in line with typical Democratic values, including fighting to curb climate change, protecting voting rights, preventing gun violence and fighting for LGBTQ rights. Some of his other endorsements include the Laborers District Council of WPA, the Latino Caucus of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Rich Fitzgerald, county executive for Allegheny County, and Pa. Sen. Steven Santarsiero, among others.  

In the two other statewide races, Steel City endorsed Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor and State Rep. Austin Davis for lieutenant governor. 

FIGHT teams up with Integral Molecular 

Philadelphia FIGHT has partnered with local biotech company Integral Molecular to help foster healthcare access and equity in the Philadelphia area. Integral Molecular is contributing monetary and in-kind donations, and volunteer work to the programs of Philadelphia FIGHT, which provides a wealth of health services, including HIV prevention and treatment, behavioral health services and support programs. 

Integral Molecular’s mission is rooted in the development and application of cutting-edge technologies for diseases that are difficult to treat, including COVID-19. 

“Integral Molecular has deep ties to Philadelphia, and for the last 20 years we have been proud to give back through local educational programs including the University City Science Center’s BULB lab program, FirstHand STEM program, and the Wistar Institute’s Biomedical Technician Training Program,” Integral Molecular Co-Founder Sharon Willis, Ph.D., said in a press release. “We are excited to support FIGHT’s vital mission and continue our commitment to the community.”

Most recently, the Integral Molecular team assisted in cleaning up and redecorating FIGHT’s pediatric and adolescent practices; they also donated 300 books to the organization. Dr. Mario Cruz, FIGHT’s director of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, has been closely collaborating with the team at Integral Molecular. 

“It’s rare to find a community partner that donates not just money, but also time,” Cruz said in a press release. “It’s a genuine commitment to support our mission and it is very much appreciated. We are delighted to get to know this team, and the passion for healthcare that drives their research.”