A FREMANTLE businessman’s idea of incorporating a Run for Reconciliation in this year’s City to Surf has sparked national attention.
Kali Balint, CEO of economic development consultancy Indigenous Consulting Group, hatched the R4R plan after competing in last year’s fun run: “My son and I, when we did the City to Surf, we looked at what charities we could put our money towards, but there was not one Aboriginal group there,” Mr Balint says of the list of supported charities.
So he contacted the ICEA Foundation, a youth-driven organisation that runs leadership programs and promotes indigenous culture in order to foster reconciliation. They were supportive of his ideas and brought Reconciliation WA on board. “After only a couple of months we’ve now got interest from around the country to run it as a national event,” Mr Balint beams.
So far luminaries such as Fred Chaney and Nova Peris have lent their support, appearing in promos wearing the event’s t-shirt. Sponsors such as miner Newmont have come on board but they just missed out on the big one—City to Surf’s major sponsor Chevron is highly supportive but didn’t hear about it in time to organise sponsorship.
Mr Balint says they’re on track for a 200-strong team to run in the event tomorrow, Sunday August 31: “We’re aiming for 2000 runners by 2020 but I think we will smash through that before then.”
Aboriginal kids will staff one of the run’s water stations, helping to raise their profile and counter negative stereotypes.
ICEA staffer and Reconciliation WA volunteer Kimberley Benjamin says the reconciliation movement has never been stronger.
“At Reconciliation WA you get requests all the time from people about what can they do to get involved.”
by STEVE GRANT