Zachary Running Wolf Brown, who ran across the country in an attempt to demand justice for two death row inmates, spoke to a Temple sociology class Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Brown, a member of the Native-American Blackfeet Nation, began on May 14 in San Francisco and arrived in Philadelphia on Sept. 28. His journey spanned over 5,000 miles and such cities as Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and Cleveland.
According to his Web site, www.kanatsitapiiksi.org, Brown paid for the run with “$50,000 out of his own pocket.”
Brown’s goal was to raise awareness about Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.
Abu-Jamal, an African-American radio journalist, was arrested in December of 1981 for the alleged murder Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in Center City a case that has split the city of Philadelphia.
Abu-Jamal has served time on Death Row since 1982.
In addition, this run was also done to bring awareness to the situation of Leonard Peltier, a Native-American who was convicted in the June of 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota despite inconclusive evidence. He is currently serving two life sentences in prison.
“All we’re asking for is a fair trial,” said Brown.
For the last eight years, Brown has been a leader in the Native-American community, not only in the San Francisco Bay area, but also nationally. His work is designed to help all people of color.
“Leaders must cross color lines,” said Brown. “As a Native-American leader, I am responsible for not just my own people, but also to all other minorities in this country.
“We must strengthen the bonds between us beginning with mutual respect to break the racial boundaries imposed on us by the dominant culture. It is time for Native-Americans to build and lead a new multi-ethnic coalition.”
This is not the first time Brown has run to promote a cause. He has also run from Oakland to a Blackfeet reservation in Browning, Montana to raise awareness about Native-American adoption and relocation. Brown was adopted and lived with a white middle-class family.
On another occasion, Zachary went to 28 casinos across California to ask the California Indian Gaming to share their wealth with organizations that help urban Native-Americans, mainly children.