Since 1999, prisoners and supporters throughout North America have participated in the annual event known as Running Down the Walls (RDTW) often running or walking simultaneously in many cities and prisons at once. This is a non-competitive 5K run/jog/walk/roll in order to raise awareness and funds for political prisoners. Over the years, we have raised thousands of dollars and lots of awareness around the struggle to free political prisoners. Many places will be hosting RDTW 2023 in September – stay tuned to our blog for more details from all of the locations participating this year!
An important component of Running Down the Walls is the solidarity runs that take place throughout numerous cities. Solidarity runs that are held in our communities are designed to illustrate, through several small collective actions, that we have not forgotten our comrades locked up behind prison walls. Runs that are held in prisons are designed to both politicize other prisoners and to illustrate that the acts of solidarity have been heard.
This annual event is also one of the primary fundraisers for the ABCF Warchest Program – a fund designed to assist political prisoners who normally received little or no financial support with monthly checks. Other funds raised should be used to support local groups of your choosing, whether that is your own organization or another group you’d like to support. The choice is yours.
To highlight the importance of these events, we will provide you with two statements from our imprisoned comrades concerning RDTW.
“As we ran we were thinking and talking about all the runners in Los Angeles and how we’d love to be out there running with them. We also spoke about the other political prisoners who were running with us in at least some other prisons… Not only our pace and spirits soared, but the sun broke through the clouds and the temperature rose to the 60s. So we ran down the walls and ran up the sun and we were glad to be doing it.”
– Jaan Laaman
“Regardless of how one identifies politically, support for Running Down the Walls can be an important statement of solidarity in an era that finds the movement for the most equitable social reality unduly fragmented. Such support is not only recognition of the trial and tribulations suffered by the diversity of PP/POWs imprisoned for their contributions to the struggle. It is also an affirmation that the many voices recognizing those contributions and seeking justice for the prisoners are at least fellow travelers who have much more in common that at odds and share the same side of the barricade.”
– Bill Dunne
We must collectively raise our voices in support of those held behind the prison walls.
We must let them know that we are here for them until they are free.
We must Run Down the Walls!
SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE
Remember that many of those arrested in the past or present are not far from us. Many of them were and are community and labor activists, queer and environmental activists people who decided to speak out against various forms of oppression and paid the price of freedom for their actions. Any one of these people could have at one time stood beside us at a demonstration, speak-out, or even an organizing meeting. At any moment it could be us who find ourselves in this situation, so it is imperative that we ensure that a strong community of support exists for these people as well as ourselves. The strength of our movement is determined by how much we support our comrades.
• Be a participant: As people participate in the run, we ask that people post videos and photos on their social media, using the hashtags #RDTW2022, #RunningDowntheWalls, #FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners.
• Sponsor a participant: This can be done through a flat donation to the runner/walker/cyclist of your choice.
• Sponsor Running Down the Walls: Any amount helps. Contact la[at]abcf.net if you wish to simply donate money. Organizations can donate and be added to the list of sponsor organizations on the website and fliers/posters.
• Donate to the Warchest: You can send funds to Lancaster ABCF, P.O. Box 8682, Lancaster, PA 17604 indicating your desire for those funds to go to the Warchest. Please make checks and money orders to Tim Fasnacht. You can also donate by clicking here.
• Organize a Running Down the Walls in your area: We’d be excited to expand the solidarity runs in more cities and prisons if are interested in organizing this event in your area. Events can be as big or small as you choose. Contact la[at]abcf.net if you would like support or advice on organizing an event in your area.