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Today through Sunday, riders from Project Echelon — a team and a non-profit founded to support veterans — are doing a Ride for Equality fundraiser to support black veterans.
Project Echelon is a non-profit with a race team that Eric Hill co-founded after a veteran friend reached out to him following a third suicide attempt in 2015.
This weekend, Project Echelon riders will be doing either 8 hours and 46 minutes on the bike or pedaling 84.6 miles, to honor the life of George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The team is doing this Ride for Equality to raise money for the National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS).
“The whole idea of Project Echelon is to bring the civilian community together with the veteran community through sport, and to use sport for self-improvement,” Hill said. “Also, it is an opportunity for the racers on our team to grow as young men and leaders in our community as well as cyclists.”
Last year Project Echelon donated more than $35,000 for veteran support and volunteered more than 2,500 hours, Hill said.
The Ride for Equality idea comes from a military officer in New York who was getting questions from veterans. “He asked if we could do it,” Hill said. “It took about two days to put together.”
You can read about the Ride for Equality and the National Association of Black Veterans on Project Echelon’s website. Project Echelon has a goal of $2,000, and as of Thursday evening had raised $1,250.
Hill is asking that riders who participate use the hastags @ProjectEchelonRacing #RacingForVeterans and #RideforEquality if posting on social media.
Hill and Project Echelon have been a driving force behind virtual versions of national races, including the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the Tour of the Gila, and the upcoming Joe Martin Stage Race.