The original idea for Kicking Across Carolina came to us as we were sitting at the dining hall at UNC Chapel Hill for brunch. The group at brunch consisted of Dylan, Sasha Seymore, and myself, Ahmad Saad. The three of us are of different religious faiths, as Dylan is Jewish, Sasha is Christian and I am Muslim, however our religious ideologies have never been a source of contentiousness as we have always found a way to look past it. We thought that since soccer has played such an important role in our friendship, why not try to harness its power to bring others together? Dylan proposed the idea of dribbling across the United States to raise money and awareness regarding religious pluralism, however, while this seemed like a righteous cause, we knew that dribbling across the USA would be an incredibly difficult feat. For that reason, we decided instead to traverse the state on foot, starting in Asheville and finishing in Morehead City, a distance of more than 410 miles!
After much planning, preparation and deliberation, Kicking Across Carolina set off on Saturday, May 5, and as of today we are more than 300 miles into our journey. Our feet have grown tougher, our legs stronger, and our minds have been opened to the kindness of strangers and the acceptance of our message. We have been fortunate enough to experience support that exceeded all of our expectations, as our message has reached thousands of people, the vast majority of whom have responded favorably. We have spoken at several churches, shared our idea with strangers, and raised more than $4,000 thus far. All of the money we raise goes to three organizations that share our desire to use soccer as a peace-promoting tool. The Maccabim Association, the Peres Center for Peace, and the Soccer for Peace Organization all focus on promoting peaceful interactions by organizing soccer camps and training sessions between individuals of differing religious backgrounds. Originally, our goal for fundraising was $10,000, and we hope to fulfill this objective through donations and the sale of shirts on our website:kickingacrosscarolina.com
With regards to helping us spread the message, we have done our best to make ourselves accessible through all social media outlets. We have a Facebook page under our name, we also have a Twitter (@kickingacrossnc), and we do our best to stay up to date all the time, even on the road. We also post daily videos and blog posts summarizing our day and our reflections on what happened. Additionally, we are selling shirts on our website in order to raise money, and we appreciate any donations that people choose to contribute. Our message is one of acceptance and coexistence, and we hope that our supporters share our passion for soccer and understanding.
Thanks to the guys at Kicking Across Carolina for contributing today’s blog post. Give them a follow, share their materials, and of course, support their incredible cause.