Columbus women’s bicycle ride held to call attention to racial disparity

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Sunday was a day of demonstrations in downtown Columbus.

All of the demonstrations may be a little different, but they’re all calling for the same things… an end to racism.

One demonstration started at 6 p.m., just as another was on its way back to City Hall.

The We Will Not Be Silent March started at 6. At the same time, going around the city, is the Women’s Freedom Ride 614.

The Women’s Freedom Ride 614 involved between 100 and 200 people on bikes. It was one of the more unique protests in Columbus over the last month.

“It’s time for change to be made so this is our small piece of change we’re creating here in our city,” said Niyah Walters, one of the ride’s organizers.

As for why they decided on a bike ride, organizers said it’s a different way to keep the momentum of the movement going forward both literally and figuratively.

“We wanted to do something different, and we all ride so we thought to ourselves, ‘What better way to get together and ride downtown,'” said Ashanti Lancaster, another organizer for the ride.

Another goal of the ride is to bring the history of the Freedom Riders into today’s movement for change.

“We’re kind of playing on that because this is not a new thing,” said organizer Keira Chatman. “There’s always been injustice in America, so what we’re doing is making sure we’re doing the modern version of what was being done in the 50s and 60s.”

Ride organizers Chatman, Lancaster, Walters, and Maria Houston started talking about how they could be part of the solution. In addition to calling for an end to racial injustice, they wanted to bring extra attention to the health disparities the Black community faces and the effects of racism on women.

“We wanted to incorporate the importance of health and wellness in this because if we’re not physically and mentally fit for this fight, then we’re not going to be here for the longevity of it,” said Maria Houston of the Women’s Freedom Ride 614. “And so we said what other way besides marching could we have our voice be heard.”

The plan was to do between four and five miles downtown and end up at the Statehouse.

“So this is bigger than all of us,” Lancaster said. “We’re literally setting things up for future generations. I’m starting things up for my son so hopefully they don’t have to march.”

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