By: Nikki Mirala
On Sunday, August 30th, 2020, Director of Athletics & Physical Education of the McLean School, Adrien McDonald, was aggressively chastised by an unnamed older man for using a lane on the track of Winston Churchill High School.
McDonald was stretching on the track soly in the eighth lane when the unidentified man told him that he was blocking the lane and needed to move. McDonald notified him that “lanes 1-7 [were] unoccupied,” but the man began to use vulgar language as well as backpettling and make punching motions in the air close to McDonald’s face. Others surrounding the track became aware of the commotion and got involved by recording and explaining that the man was harassing McDonald, but he “just got more upset once they started recording” said McDonald. Bystanders told the man to leave McDonald alone and to “go away” to which he responded that “this is the United States of America,” he continued, “I’m not going nowhere! If I want to stay out here till 5 o’clock in the morning, I can, so don’t tell me to go anywhere!”
McDonald asked the man “do you notice how you’re only targeting one person?” “Oh my God,” the man began to walk away with his wife, “you know what he’s trying to play right now. What a joke! Trump 2020! Donald Trump! We want Trump 2020!” He says, “Those are Biden supporters!” McDonald said that he wishes he “knew why he brought politics into it,” specifically Donald Trump. The man “assumed he knew what type of person I was, but that wasn’t the case… it’s an example of our country and it’s leadership.” Witnesses present believe that this incident had nothing to do with politics, but rather the fact that McDonald is a black man, but when asked if race was a motivating factor in the man’s outburst, McDonald said that “he will never know the answer.” He said that in our current political and social climate “race has become an easy target” which is why many people believe that was the nature of the man’s instincts, but he doesn’t “know enough about the man to make assumptions.” McDonald believes that the primary reason for his outburst was probably his comfortability on the track. “He most likely has always had his way in whatever lane he wanted,” said McDonald, “I have been coaching track for 10 years, I am very familiar with track etiquette, and I really don’t believe I was doing anything wrong.”
McDonald has been in contact with Churchill High School since the incident and says that the “community efforts and amount of people reaching out have been wonderful.” The school has since put up signage stating that people need to treat each other with respect to ensure everyone feels comfortable in the vicinity. “There is only so much Churchill can be responsible for,” said McDonald, “but I appreciate what they have done.” McDonald has been back to the track since the incident and does not “feel uncomfortable at all.”
McDonald sees this as a lesson for everyone to be kinder to each other, especially due to the current state of our nation. He has now turned this into an opportunity to progressively and proactively make a difference by starting a nonprofit creating shirts and merchandise stating “No Hate in Lane 8.” The nonprofit was created to encourage civility, and to ensure that everyone participates in community efforts to make our youth more aware, and most importantly, kinder to one another. The logo for the nonprofit features an eight lane track with the word “love” written in the eighth lane. Underneath the track reads the statement ““No Hate in Lane 8.” He has also created a Facebook page dedicated to the statement which posts heartwarming videos and photos regarding stories of bravery, love, and acceptance. The page also posts motivational and inspirational quotes that McDonald and others feel is most representative of what they would want individuals to take away from viewing the page. McDonald’s excitement regarding his nonprofit only represents the debut of the change he looks forward to making in the world as he continues to encourage consideration, acceptance, and unity. “This is the beginning, but definitely not the end,” writes the page.