© 2023 Gold Futures Challenge. All Rights Reserved.
Run for Chinatown
Run for Chinatown
Run for Chinatown
The Run for Chinatown leadership team is composed of seven unique individuals. We are all of Asian descent, ranging from first generation to fourth generation Americans. Together, we are a diverse team of varying socioeconomic upbringings, educational backgrounds, and professional experience. Collectively, the leadership team has professional experience in industries including but not limited to: e-commerce, real estate, finance, accounting, tech, hospitality, run coaching, and non-profits. With our diverse work and life experiences, we keep each other accountable and challenge each others’ perspectives, which helps us make more mindful & thoughtful decisions and forge more innovative approaches & ideas. Moreover, we all have different running abilities–some who are competitive and have ambitious time goals and others who enjoy running recreationally with others. Our physical characteristics vary and represent the real world. We are proud to show that all bodies are capable of running regardless of shape and size. Run for Chinatown is open to all, regardless of background, age, shape, or gender. We believe that our leadership team represents this diversity. For our founder, Leland Yu, the mission of Run for Chinatown to inspire others through running and to support the Chinatown community, is one that he uniquely positioned to drive forward. His family has been in Chinatown for four generations. His great-grandfather served in World War II and posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal. His mother is a longtime Chinatown resident, educator, and activist. Over the years, Leland has established his own roots and cultivated long-lasting relationships in the neighborhood through attending a local elementary school, learning lion dance & martial arts from the Chinese Freemasons Athletic Association, and being involved in other community activities. Combining his love for Chinatown and his passion for running, Leland carries on his family tradition of community advocacy, engagement, and responsibility, through Run for Chinatown. We believe that in order to empower the community, we must first challenge and improve our own mind and body. This exercise is circular and continuous–in that the more we can better our individual self, the more we collectively impact the AAPI community. In complementing this ethos, we measure success two-fold: on the individual level and on the community level.
About the Organization:
$0 - $50,000
Manhattan Chinatown was one of the first communities critically affected when the world began to learn of the COVID-19 virus. Foot traffic in the neighborhood rapidly declined with local businesses experiencing an 80% exodus of patrons, even prior to the citywide shut down. In addition to the economic harm acutely and unjustifiably targeted at Chinatown, the AAPI community across New York City experienced an uptick in anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes. The NYPD reported hate crimes against New York City’s AAPI community spiked 343% between 2020 and 2021. When restrictions began to be lifted in the city, the AAPI community found themselves continuing to be at risk of their physical and mental safety. Elders in the community were warned to rush indoors before nightfall, and were encouraged to travel with escorts throughout the city during the daytime. Pepper spray and personal alarms were distributed throughout Chinatown and among families. The AAPI community was forced to reconcile with a second-pandemic brought on by discrimination and hate. The impact of the COVID pandemic and subsequent physical threats to the community cannot be overlooked–the persistent risk toward personal safety and the accompanying decline in mental health continues unabated even while media coverage has dwindled. Unsurprisingly, the scapegoating of the AAPI community extends far before the Global Pandemic. The refusal to address and recognize the harm targeted at the AAPI community remains one of the longest and most neglected epidemics in this nation’s history. Run for Chinatown addresses these issues in a unique way–through running.
Leland Yu reached a pivotal turning point amid the raging devastation of the pandemic. He picked up running in early 2020. Day after day, step by step, he recognized the positive effects the sport was having on his life. There was no turning back. He focused his newfound energy toward supporting his hometown, Manhattan Chinatown. On May 1st, 2020, he embarked on a 12-hour running challenge–collecting $1 from donors in exchange for every mile run. In total, he completed 61 miles throughout NYC and raised $25,000. The funds went toward purchasing 2,000 meals from local restaurants to feed front-line workers. In late 2020, Leland linked up with running coach, Kai Ng. On May 10, 2021, they began hosting Monday night group runs to rally the community together through running. The inaugural run brought together seven runners. Today, Run for Chinatown has grown into a group of more than 200 runners. What started as a solo journey two years ago has blossomed into a community effort. Our Monday night runs are intentionally meant to be introductory and inclusive, open and accessible to all–whether you’re a first-time runner or seasoned marathoner. We encourage people of all backgrounds to join, regardless of race, running ability, age, or gender. We believe that running is a democratization of sports and health; the barrier to start running is lower than most athletic endeavors, and the benefits to the mind and body are limitless. We pride ourselves on our pace groups, which include "back of the pack" runners and a walking group. Monday night runs are an opportunity for people unite, to explore the Chinatown neighborhood, and to bring life to the area. We also host bi-monthly fundraising events supporting local businesses and organizations. Our most recent event was the Leaders of Chinatown 5K, a group run around Chinatown where participants met some of the community’s most inspiring advocates along the route. Proceeds went toward supporting the displaced residents and businesses of a recent fire in Chinatown. Run for Chinatown believes that sustainable change starts from within. It all begins with a Monday night run.