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Yellow Ribbon Run helps to break down prejudice. Its ambition is to draw attention to employment of ex-offenders.
Very unusual relay-teams will stand on the track of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon this year with the motto ‘Runaway from prejudice!’ The relay teams will be made up of inmates, ex-offenders, Czech Prison Service representatives, the Office of Ombudsman and CEOs of big companies. A yellow ribbon will decorate the T-shirts of runners who all together want to point out the problem of difficult employability of people released from prisons. The Yellow Ribbon Run will be held in the Czech Republic and Europe for the first time, and moreover, for the first time in history it will be a part of the world class race.
The whole event is organized under the auspices of the Minister of Justice, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ombudsman and the worldwide recognized International Corrections and Prisons Association. The event be supported by 20 prestigious companies.
The initiator of the Yellow Ribbon Run in the Czech Republic is Gabriela Slováková, the director of the female prison in Světlá nad Sázavou. She attended the run with a yellow ribbon in 2011 in Singapore, where during 11 years of this event over two thousands working places for ex-offenders were created. The concept of the project inspired the director and since then she wished to arrange a similar action in the Czech Republic. The event is organized with the help of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic, the Business Leaders Forum platform which associates socially responsible companies, and RunCzech, the organizer of the most prestigious run in the Czech Republic – the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.
What is the reason of the RunCzech involvement in the project? “We are here to create certain values, and the Yellow Ribbon Run is one of them. I think it is very important to allow people who made a mistake and served their sentences to dignifiedly return back to society”, says Carlo Capalbo, the President of the RunCzech Organizing Committee.
On the Prague streets, there will be held several relays with yellow jersey. At the moment three convicted women from the prison in Světlá nad Sázavou and a prisoner from Kuřim are training for the run and three ex-convicts promised to participate. They will run together with twenty top managers, representatives of international and Czech companies. The yellow ribbons, which will be made by convicted women from Světlá nad Sázavou, are not the only relays attributes. Every runner can pin the ribbon and thus express support for the Yellow Ribbon Run during the marathon on 8 May 2016.
“The fact that we organize this run is a unique message for all those who are now in prison and will watch on TV that people “out there” put yellow ribbons on their lapels. By this act they send a clear message to people in prison – when they come out of prison, they will be welcomed in the society”, adds Iva Petříčková, the executive director of Business Leaders Forum, a platform for leading companies which claim the concept of socially responsible business.
The Volkswagen Prague Marathon is the first world class race supporting the idea of a run with yellow ribbon. “We highly appreciate the courage and wisdom of Mr. Capalbo and believe that this project will contribute to improvement of prisoners’ employment in the Czech Republic as well. Recurrence of prisoners is not only a huge economical problem but primarily a human tragedy. We believe that it is possible to break stigmatization of people released from prison and open possibilities for a dignified life”, says Petříčková.
“Our aim is to encourage employers to think of the fact that an ex-offender can be a grateful and reliable employee”, explains Gabriela Slováková. “If one released prisoner will get a job thanks to our project, it will be great”, adds Capalbo.
Yellow Ribbon is a symbol of return to the society, a symbol of hope taken from the song Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.
The song is told from the point of view of someone who has “done his time“ but is uncertain if he will be welcomed home. He writes to his love, asking her to tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree in front of the house (which the bus will pass by) if she wants him to return to her life. If he does not see such a ribbon, he will remain on the bus taking that to mean he is unwelcome. Finally he sees 100 yellow ribbons around the old oak tree, a sign that he is being awaited at home.
For more information about the project, please contact:
Prague International Marathon, spol. s r.o. / Tempo Team Prague s.r.o.
PR & Media
mob: +420 608 641 603, tel: 233 015 021
Františka Křížka 461/11, 170 00 Praha 7
Business Leaders Forum
mob: +420 606 293 396
Prison Service of CR
Director of the Prison
mob.: +420 602 622 299