Bed-Stuy Heritage: The Evolution of Do or Die

In the run community running events happen in places for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it's geographic significance, sometimes it's because the route is a challenge and sometimes it's for no good reason at all. Very rarely does an event capture a community from its inception from the idea to the participants. In this month's local race feature of Mid Strike Magazine, we're going to take a stop in the heart of Black Brooklyn in the community known as Bedford Stuyvesant or Bed-Stuy. I'm going to give you an inside look into the Bed-Stuy Heritage 5K where the evolution of the moniker 'do or die' took on a new meaning.

On Sunday, July 24th Black Men Run NYC, brought back a community favorite event in the heart of a community that has captured the imagination of the world. Bedford Stuyvesant has been a bastion of NYC's blackness alongside Harlem as places that have been safe havens for culture. The swag, and culture has produced the lives of the Notorious BIG, Shirley Chisholm, Hattie Carthan, and many others from the spectrum of Black experience. In a time not too long-ago Bed-Stuy experienced disinvestment that allowed poverty and violence to grow rampant. Yet still these communities produced some of the greatest stories of resilience and self-determination from its inhabitants. For many of the members of BMRNYC this is the soil from which they grew.

For years, BMRNYC hosted this local event with other partners but disbanded. The hope was to return to this race that's more than a run much sooner but with the onset of the pandemic it's return was again delayed. This year the group put off perfection of the time for the performance of the moment. Undeterred by conditions of heat, undenied by a truncated timetable for permit approval and unfettered by scant resources - there comes a point where you move straight ahead no matter what. This 'do or die' mentality became a driving point in crafting this event. 

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