Marion resident rides across the state for anti-racism group fundraiser
MARION — Coke Whitworth, a Tabor Academy photography teacher and boy’s basketball coach, was a part of extensive anti-racism professional development over the summer that his school held.
But, “I wanted to do more than that,” Whitworth said.
So, he decided to bike across Massachusetts to raise money for Tri-Town Against Racism, a local grassroots organization that is teaching the community about what it means to be anti-racist.
Even before finishing his trek from Pittsfield to Provincetown, Whitworth met his goal of $1,000 via GoFundMe.
About a month ago, Whitworth came up with the idea while on a ride on his mountain bike in Onset. Within a month’s time, he started his ride on Aug. 13.
About four days before the ride began, Whitworth reached out to Tri-Town Against Racism to see if they were interested in being a part of it.
Rather than choosing a larger nonprofit, he chose the organization because he believes in their motto: “Start where you live.”
“That message struck me,” Whitworth said.
“We were definitely humbled by it,” said group co-leader Tangi Thomas.
The organization, which grew out of a community Facebook group created in May, has organized protests, a book group, spoke at school committee and Select Board meetings, and are planning events and courses for the community.
“It’s such a warm feeling to see that people are responding to the group and that they care,” Thomas said.
While Whitworth has been raising money for the cause, the ride has not been without its challenges.
In the first two days, he rode 50 miles each day and climbed 3,000 feet in elevation.
“No one would ever consider me an endurance athlete,” Whitworth joked.
Thankfully, he has the support of his wife, Stefanie, who is driving next to him and offering encouragement along the way. While Coke was riding, she helped load and unload equipment at the beginning and end of each day and is getting the word out about the ride on social media.
Whitworth isn’t sure what will come out of the ride in terms of impact, but he wants his journey to show that people, like his two children, or the students and players at Tabor, shouldn’t feel alone in the fight for racial equality “I want people to know that there’s allies out there,” he said.
Whitworth is projected to finish his ride on Aug. 19. The GoFundMe can be found here.