Moges Seblehiwot (Community Capacity Building Certificate, SFU) and the Orange BC Run team

Orange BC Run

Team members: Moges Seblehiwot (Community Capacity Building Certificate, SFU)

I live in Burnaby BC, the ancestral and unceded homelands of the hənqəminəm and Sḵwxwú7mesh speaking peoples. I am grateful for the opportunity to be on this shared territory. 

I was born and grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After immigrating to Canada, I attended the Business Administration program at the University of Winnipeg, where I learned about the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the destructive impact of colonization. I also learned about Phyllis Webstad—creator of Orange Shirt Day—and this inspired me to do something for a better future. I believe it's our collective responsibility to make a better future together, and to work in a way that enables us to live in harmony. 

As an immigrant from Ethiopia, I know that the level of awareness about Indigenous Peoples in Canada is very low among my community. But we are great runners. In the 1960 Rome Olympics, Abebe Bikila ran barefoot to win Africa’s first Olympic gold medal for Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, running is not only a sport—it’s also intertwined with community practice and resilience. Annual mass runs or road runs are a common practice in Ethiopia, where people express their emotions, run, dance, and sing together. Running heals our pain by bringing us together. It is a tool to combat hate and racism, and a tool for healing trauma. Running brings the spirit of unity, strength, love, relationship, equality, and joy to my fellow Ethiopians. So, I thought that combining a road run with Orange Shirt Day would be a good way to bring my community and others together to play our part in the Truth and Reconciliation process. 

Orange BC Run is a grassroots initiative that aims to bring awareness in support of survivors of the Indian Residential School system. It’s family friendly and everyone is welcome. It can play a great role for a better and healthier future together. We worked with Moon Tide Reconciliation for our first Orange BC Run, last year—which had over 200 attendees—and we’re working to strengthen that partnership. Our run is open to all Canadians and Indigenous Peoples who wish to support Truth & Reconciliation. By running, we can increase awareness about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and we can sing, dance, and create loving relations in our communities, together.