Change coming to Thanksgiving Day tradition in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every year on Thanksgiving morning hundreds of people lace up their shoes for an early holiday tradition before sitting down to dinner with family and friends.

That tradition will continue in 2021, but it will proceed with a different name. One that organizers and supporters believe is more appropriate.

Instead of taking part in the Pilgrim Run through Hyde Park, the event this year is being called the Hyde Park Run. You may notice yard signs and advertisements for the race have a line through the word “Pilgrim.”

The annual event is a fundraiser for the Pilgrim Center in Kansas City. In an Instagram post, the organization said that one of its founding purposes was to provide a public sanctuary for people of all beliefs or non-beliefs. It also advocates for racial and social equity for all people, according to the post.

“As an organization with a history and mission of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, we no longer feel it is appropriate to produce a “Pilgrim” Run on Thanksgiving Day,” the post said. “Although it was never our intention to do so, we recognize and accept ownership that when we celebrate “pilgrims” on Thanksgiving, we are perpetuating a holiday mythology that is disrespectful of and ignorant to the suffering caused by America’s systemic oppression of indigenous people. It is important to us to acknowledge this as well as take action toward changing the name of the event.”

The Pilgrim Center said it plans to engage in conversations about how it came to the decision in the coming months, and everyone is welcome to be part of that discussion.

All proceeds from the run benefit the Pilgrim Center and its effort to make midtown Kansas City neighborhoods more appealing and viable.

Anyone who plans to attend the run on Thanksgiving is required to provide proof of vaccination. Those who are preregistered for the race have until Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. to send organizers a picture of their vaccination card.

Organizers also plan to confirm vaccinations and registering people at a drive-thru packet pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 24 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and at the race on Thanksgiving Day.

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