By J.J. McQueen
Special to the AFRO

In the spirit of celebrating Black History Month, Rob Jackson, founder and co-leader of (RIOT) Running Is Our Therapy group, kicked off this month’s educational run tour by making AFRO headquarters their first stop. While standing in 20-degree weather, Jackson read a passage of history about the Afro with those who were unfamiliar with its contributions to Blacks over the paper’s 129-year existence.

RIOT Runners (Photos by J.J. McQueen)

As a retired Army veteran and Baltimore native, Jackson has a great level of respect for the rich history and traditions of the city. In contrast to the founders of the AFRO, Jackson also understands the call of leadership beyond the battlefield. In 2015, he started RIOT as a way to deal with Anxiety and (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for veterans. 

RIOT also has an important partner, Under Armour. The Baltimore-based sports apparel company is known for its grassroots support for initiatives that involve things that positively impact the Black community. With clothing and shoes designed for the specific needs of soldiers, (UA) has made it a point to partner with those who sacrifice for our freedom and safety. 

RIOT Runner (Photos by J.J. McQueen)

After his history presentation, Jackson shared his thoughts with the group about the importance of the history of Black media outlets.

“Without organizations like the AFRO, countless Black people wouldn’t have known how to communicate with one another. It’s a staple in our community,” Jackson said.

Rob Jackson RIOT Founder arriving at HQ (Photos by J.J. McQueen)

For individuals that are interested in joining RIOT, the group gathers are 8 a.m. and here are two upcoming run dates and locations. 

  • 2/13/22 – Rusty Scupper (Black History Site, Maryland Baseball Park Negro League Field) 
  • 2/20/22 – Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum

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