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New 'Strides for Social Justice' app takes you on a history through Black life in Eugene

(Image courtesy Strides for Social Justice)
(Image courtesy Strides for Social Justice)
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LANE COUNTY, Ore. — PeaceHealth and the Eugene Marathon have partnered up to create an important journey through Eugene. It's called "Strides for Social Justice", available for download on iOS and Android.

The app allows users to travel to local Black history milestones, to educate users on the achievements of Black residents, encourage support for organizations and promote health.

"A powerful opportunity to not only get healthy but also become awakened to the experiences of our black residents," said Marcy Marshall, PeaceHealth's Sr. Director of marketing and communication.

Developed following the death of George Floyd and ensuing protests, the Strides for Social Justice app highlights the achievements of Eugene's Black residents.

"Honoring, exploring, illuminating the history of Black residents in our area," said Ian Dobson, race director for the Eugene marathon.

Destinations were picked through the help of a committee of educators, city council members, local lawmakers, and black advocacy groups.

There are four tours. The downtown tour begins at Alton Baker Park, formerly the first Black neighborhood the county demolished back in 1949, displacing hundreds, most of them Black.

The other stops include the Mims houses, home of one of the first Black families who also sheltered traveling African Americans. Existing today as the Eugene Springfield NAACP chapter location.

"Hoping it will educate and enlighten others in the community," said Marshall.

Other tours include the Westmoreland park tour which takes travelers to the Dr. Edwin Coleman jr. Community center; its namesake came to Eugene in 1966 and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon before working there, leading to the creation of the department of ethnic studies.

There are also tours for West and South Eugene.

Marshall said the main goal is to encourage donations to the NAACP and other organizations.

"We hope this is a starting point for people to become aware of the experiences of our black residents," Marshall said.

A step forward to education and understanding.

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Marshall said there are plans to expand to a University of Oregon tour, before further branching out to other areas in Lane County.

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