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One Runner of Color’s Internal Monologue

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“When will I reach that high?” Many runners have asked themselves this question, but as actor and storyteller Christopher Rivas highlights in his short film Head on a Swivel, not all runners have equal access to that feeling during a run. The video presents the thoughts and emotions of one runner of color, as told through Rivas’s internal narrative on an average jog: the anticipation of racial profiling, the anxiety of social interaction, and the fear of unjust retribution. “I created this piece in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery,” Rivas says. “I wondered if disappearing into a runner’s high is ever truly possible when the body of color always has to keep their head on a swivel.” Rivas’s monologue in the film questions which spaces are safe and which “normal” acts are actually dangerous, but closes with a message of persistence and defiance: he keeps running.