“I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history. We cannot just limit black history to 30 days of a month. Black history, American history, is everyday of the year.” – Dr. Rolanda Schmidt
Today we feature Dr. Rolanda Schmidt, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author and podcaster who lives in Minnesota and is a friend to Moms on the Run. Schmidt has long sought truth, justice and the desire to strengthen minority families. Her story began after surviving kidnapping and abuse at the young age of 12.
Rosa Parks, called the "mother of the civil rights movement," is best known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott. But Parks was a lifelong activist who had been challenging white supremacy long before then. She stated, "I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn’t take it any more."
One of the most famous Americans in history, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849 and personally helped free 70 enslaved people — and aid hundreds more — as the most-well known “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. She was often referred to as the "Moses of her people."
While Tubman did not create the Underground Railroad, she most likely used this network of escape routes and safe houses when she and her brothers escaped north. Tubman returned to the South many times to help lead others to freedom. Her success led slaveowners to post a $40,000 reward for her capture or death, however, she was never caught and never lost a "passenger."
Lakeville/Burnsville (MN) Moms on the Run members all live a bit vicariously through fellow teammate Karen McKinley's adventures in running. From Disney races with festive costumes to rugged trail running adventures to smaller scale unique hometown races across the country, Karen is always up for the next adventure.
Not even a pandemic could stop her. "Covid cancellations made planning her adventures a bit more challenging in 2020," said Lakeville/Burnsville Moms on the Run franchise owner Kim Burggraaf, "but somehow Karen managed to still find a few racing opportunities. We joked a bit that if anyone would find a race open in 2020, it would be Karen, and she sure did!"
Kim added: "Karen is always up for an adventure and comes to every meetup with the best positive outlook and cheery smile, encouraging all around her in the process. Her passion for seeking out running adventures, enthusiasm for life, and dedication and grit to staying the course and finishing her miles is such an inspiration to us all!"
Learn more about Karen's story and why she's our inspiring member of the month.
Four years ago, Karin Munksgaard, a member of Apple Valley (MN) Moms on the Run, chose to challenge herself with running — something she thought she could never do. Not only is it something she learned how to do, but it's helped her thrive with new friendships, confidence, motivation and, despite a pandemic, her first half marathon.
Read our conversation with Karin and learn why she's an inspiring member.