PLAINFIELD, NJ - On a brisk, sunny morning outside the Plainfield Library, Pastor Paul Dean sat down with TAPinto Plainfield to discuss Black Men Rise - A Run for All Lives, a 5K unity run that will take place in Cedar Brook Park on Friday, Nov. 25th.
Pastor Dean, who grew up in the Bronx in New York, had been exposed to gang life as a young man. Now, he is both a Police Chaplain and a Pastor who took some time off a few months ago after his frustrations with so many young Black men dying, and the killings of police officers in Texas, weighed heavily on him.
He had a vision to create an event that brings together young men, that begins a conversation with these men to show them that there are people who want to empower and equip them for the future, and lets them know there are people who care about them. "It’s time to encourage the men to run the race of life and finish their purpose without their lives being cut short,” he says.
So Black Men Rise - A Run for All Lives was born, brought to fruition by a Plainfield non-profit organization, Visions Community Development Corporation, and Pastor Dean.
There are a few things that make this 5K different from others. To align with organizers' 'What's Next’ program’s initiatives, the event will feature booths that offer educational information on improving health, social services, gaining wealth, acquiring property and other options to get ahead in life, versus vendors who strictly offer items for sale. Additionally, there is no fee for 5K runners/walkers to participate.
The City of Plainfield, according to Dean, has been very supportive of the event, too.
Pastor Dean says Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., a dynamic speaker, will be on hand, and will talk before the race begins so that participants can hear his message and reflect on it as they run or walk. Bishop Hilliard, Jr. serves as the senior pastor of Cathedral International—The Historic Second Baptist Church in Perth Amboy, NJ.
A portion of the fees collected from vendors and donations will go to Second Street Youth Center Foundation, a non-profit organization 501(c) (3) which has decades of service to youth in the community through a myriad of programs such as computer literacy, kindergarten readiness, after-school programs offering standardized testing, and STEM projects such as robotics and literacy strategies. This foundation is designed to support and promote the education and social development of the children and families and the community at large.
The 5K event will take place in Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. To register online, visit www.blackmenrise.eventbrite.com. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-444-6195.
All men, women and children are welcome.