MLK Dream Run celebrates 10 years

Multnomah County

Stride toward economic equality: 'MLK Dream Run A Decade Strong'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The annual MLK Dream Run is celebrating 10 years this weekend.

The Soul District Business Association (SDBA) is set to kick off the two-day fundraising event Saturday October 16, with live entertainment, the Roots Marketplace Vendor Village, on-site vaccinations and more.

The milestone run honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of economic equality outlined in his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech, with proceeds supporting communities of color and minority-owned businesses.

“We’re trying to get Black businesses and businesses of color up and running, and stable in our community, because there’s been a lot of erosion,” explained John Washington, SDBA President. “So what we’re hoping to do with the run, is to begin to reintroduce the businesses in our district to the community itself.”

MLK Dream Run athletes (Courtesy: Soul District Business Association)

Senator Ron Wyden is set to be the official starter for Sunday’s race October, 17.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News Wyden said, “For 10 years, this Soul District Business Association event has provided a wonderful opportunity to have fun while getting out for some exercise, and to support communities of color and BIPOC small businesses — particularly BIPOC-owned small businesses.”

Wyden added, “All those community objectives are more important than ever now with the economic and social fallout from the pandemic. I’m very much looking forward to kicking off the MLK Dream Run on Sunday.”

Runners start, MLK Dream Run (Courtesy: Soul District Business Association)

Funds raised from the run have historically been used to assist local businesses and expand the SDBA Youth Entrepreneur Training Programs, offering low-income & minority entrepreneurs skills and financial support.

“By supporting and saving businesses in our community today, you very well could be saving the life of a family, the life of a community,” said Washington.

SDBA youth entrepreneur program graduate Kyrell Bishop said, “The Soul District Business Association gave me true insights into the daily operations and requirements of running a business … this experience inspired me to launch my own business that supports myself and my family.”

Kyrell Bishop and John Washington (KOIN)

Since graduating Bishop now owns and runs local trucking company GKB Services, LLC.

He told KOIN 6 News the run helps level the playing field by supporting community members like himself. “As we transition out of a public health crisis, this event is a great encouragement for people to get out and prioritize their health by being active and supporting their community.”

The USATF sanctioned and Spirit of Portland Award winning event offers 5k, 10k and 15K chip-timed races, beginning at NE MLK and NE Alberta Street and continuing throughout the Soul District of Portland.

Registration and donations are accepted online.

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