Letter to the editor: Pittsburgh Marathon’s inclusion illusion
The Pittsburgh Marathon brings great energy to the city, a feeling that everyone there — runner and spectator alike — is united in the common purpose of supporting each other through a difficult endeavor. This purpose transcends race, ethnicity, religion, gender, economics, and politics: Anyone who can run or who supports the runners is welcome and celebrated.
This universal unity, however, is a lie. P3R, the nonprofit that organizes the marathon, accepted a marquee sponsorship from the local franchise owners of Chick-fil-A for the Kids of Steel youth marathon. The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 2017, according to recently released tax filings analyzed by ThinkProgress. This is in spite of having pledged to discontinue donations to discriminatory groups in 2012.
The franchise owners are not the same as the foundation, but one cannot be separated from the other. One wonders what P3R considers “acceptable” levels of prejudice against underrepresented populations when taking donations.
P3R, as a nonprofit that represents the City of Pittsburgh on the international stage, is sending a message to the LGBTQ community, particularly to LGBTQ youth, that the Pittsburgh Marathon and, by transitive property, Pittsburgh is for everyone but them.
In the future, I believe that Pittsburgh’s inclusiveness will be more than illusory, and it is certainly better than it has been in the past. As it stands right now though, it seems our unity is still mostly smoke and mirrors.