By now, you all know that I love finding intersections of yoga and life–specifically when it comes to social justice, empowering people, and creating meaningful change! This week, I had the honor and opportunity to sit down with Amanda Litman, Co-Founder, and Executive Director of Run for Something to chat about the transformational power of yoga, politics, and politicians to celebrate this Women’s History Month.
Like most organizations and communities, the wellness world is going through a bit of cultural reckoning. Since the summer, brands and institutions have been “called out” and some calling themselves “in” to address their diversity and associations. The political world is no different. In fact, according to the PEW Research center “about a quarter of voting members (23%) of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are racial or ethnic minorities, making the 117th Congress the most racially and ethnically diverse in history.” Run For Something, founded in 2017, is helping lead the diversification process in small and large elections across the country. You might ask, “now what does politics have to do with yoga?” For me, it’s totally related. To start, much like politics, yoga in the West has been considered a practice for the elite–only accessible to those who could afford boutique studio classes, most often taught by young, thin, white teachers. There was/is a confide “yoga look,” and most often the person who comes to mind doesn’t look like me. That’s changing. When you scroll down the page of endorsed candidates and alumni on the Run For Something website, you might feel like I did and think “wow…they don’t look like politicians…” And Amanda and I agree, that it’s a good thing. Similar to the wellness world, the face of politics is changing and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Not just for aesthetic reasons, but because when you have teachers that look more like their students, and politicians that look more like their communities- those student and community needs are much more likely to be met. You’ll hear much more about the work that Run for Something does in the interview with Amanda, but you should know that:
Between 2017 to 2020, [they] elected nearly 500 candidates in 46 states to offices ranging from state Senate to county Sheriff and everything in between and below. [Their] candidates come from all walks of life– teachers, doctors, activists, artists, parents, refugees — and they represent communities that have been historically excluded and discouraged from running.
That’s HUGE. HUGE!
So, if you ever find yourself looking for ways to continue to live your practice off of your mat, consider joining us here at AK by donating to Run for something to help continue their work. Maybe even consider raising your hand to Run for an office in your hometown–we could all benefit from some spiritual leaders in office.