As the runners crossed the finish line and made their way up the hill to the San Juan Chapter House, they were greeted by a banner that read: “I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run. I know Ashlynne would do the same for me. Run with Ashlynne in your heart!”
People ran with family members or carrying their children. Some ran with their dogs.
You could find people of all ages and backgrounds running, celebrating Ashlynne Mike’s life, lost tragically almost a year ago.
The Ashlynne Mike Memorial Run and Child Safety Fair, which included a 5-mile run, a motorcycle run, and information from local schools and organizations, drew a great turnout this past Saturday.
Kirtland Elementary School students created more than twenty posters about child safety for the event.
“We all have the power to stop child abuse,” read one poster. “Less hurt. More heart,” read another.
Ashlynne Mike’s parents, Gary Mike and Pamela Foster, both spoke briefly during the event. Their presence, along with the images and messages on banners and tables stressed the importance that all communities should do everything they can to prevent harm to children.
Last month, naming Ashlynne Mike’s death, U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, introduced the Amber Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017, legislation that would expand the Amber Alert child abduction warning system on Native American reservations by clarifying that Indian tribes are eligible for Department of Justice grants that help assemble these systems for law enforcement agencies, according to a press release from the Senator’s office.
Foster urged the crowd to sign a petition that calls for creating an Amber Alert system that covers the 27,000-square-mile reservation, in support of Senator McCain’s bill.
During the event, Arizona Public Service representative, Terry Dayish, unveiled the winner of the Child Safety Poster Contest, created by Ojo Amarillo student Kiana Tsosie.
“To me, the rainbow represents healing. When I see a rainbow, it reminds me of Ashlynne, because it’s beautiful and peaceful. I made this poster, because of Ashlynne Mike. She was the sweetest girl ever,” said the 2nd grader.
“The color blue means be aware of where you are. Purple means protect yourself front and back. Red means stop, reject if somebody tells you to go with him/her. Orange means be obedient to safety, meaning follow the safety rules. Green means go away from bad things. Yellow means yield and slow down to think. All the hands below represent all of the kids from Ojo Amarillo Elementary School. This is my Child Safety Awareness Poster,” Kiana added.
The poster contest had more than 200 entries from kindergarten to 6th grade students.
The event ended with the release of a hundred yellow balloons.
You can view U.S. Senator John McCain’s legislation here.
With reports from:
Noel Lyn Smith (2017, April 29). Ashlynne Mike's parents continue advocacy. Farmington Daily Times. Retrieved from http://www.daily-times.com.
Elizabeth Reed and Blair Miller (2016, May 06). Funeral held for Navajo girl. KOB4. Retrieved from http://www.kob.com.
Arlyssa Becenti (2016, May 3). Arrest made in murder; community gathers for vigil. Navajo Times. Retrieved from http://navajotimes.com.