Activism comes in all forms within our community. As runners we use our platforms to discuss issues that are a constant battle in our communities. Whether it is the messages we wear on our run shirts, running to protest, or running to remember; our voices, legs, and feet when united in marching or running hundreds at a time, can be powerful and heard. Running also connects us to those in our community that are fighting the same fight as us but on different levels. We all carry the same message of change and freedom.
In the past few months the coronavirus has forced us to be still, allowing the world to see the senseless deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; both killed by the hands of people who are sworn to serve and protect our communities. When stories like this cross the television screen it sincerely hits close to home. One person that comes to mind and who I always think about first is Natasha Duncan. Her sister, Shantel Davis, was killed by an NYPD detective on June 14, 2012. Another Black life taken by the police. For the NYPD life goes on as usual. However, for the families, for every life that is lost, a hole remains that cannot be filled. These families simply cannot move on. They cannot simply forget and go back to business as usual. A piece of them will always remain missing.
After Shantel’s murder, Natasha Duncan launched Justice for Shantel Davis. A community grassroots effort to bring to light the social, racist, and unbalanced policing in our neighborhoods. I have been blessed to know Natasha Duncan for more than half of my life. She has a powerful voice, drive, and willingness to focus on the goal ahead that most couldn’t keep up with. Natasha has been at the forefront of every rally she has been able to attend, bringing attention and light to the senseless killings of unarmed black men and women, not only in New York City, but also other parts of the United States.
Her community efforts also don’t go unnoticed as she hosts Hoops for justice basketball tournament in Brooklyn, NY annually. 2020 would have been its 8th year if not for Covid. Natasha also creates community efforts to make sure kids have the necessities to return to school while also making the necessary trips to Albany to speak with local officials about our constant battles with policing in our communities.
It’s important that we know who’s fighting our fight and know who is standing by our side. Natasha Duncan is one of those people. Everyone should know.
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH“
Instagram – Justice for Shantel Davis