Trevor Davis-Dressner was looking for a way to make a difference: to do something, anything to help a cause he’d become invested in. On a recent Sunday, the Wilson High junior hit the streets of his Belmont Heights neighborhood, every hour on the hour, running 24 miles in 24 hours to raise money for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
“I don’t have a lot of money right now, so I was thinking about how I could help the cause, because I’m very passionate about Black Lives Matter,” explained Davis-Dressner. “I figured this was something I could do to raise a little bit of money. I was thinking I could ask my friends to donate and maybe make 75-100 dollars, but it ended up scaling a lot more.”
Before he ran his first mile, Davis-Dressner had already raised over $800, far exceeding his modest expectations. By the end of the day he’d raised over $2,000, with support still coming in.
Davis-Dressner is a member of Wilson’s cross country team, but said he’s never covered so much ground in one day. Plus, while he’s been on quarantine for the past three months, the furthest distance he’d run in one day is about three miles. That meant it was quite the leap to cover 24 miles, which is the distance from Wilson’s campus to LAX.
Davis-Dressner hit the streets at the top of every hour, taking short breaks to eat, do his homework, and even fill out some job applications before getting right back on the road for another mile. He said he snuck in a short nap, but was definitely feeling the fatigue later in the day.
“I didn’t do the best job planning it, so I was already up for 16 hours before I started. And then to be up 24 more hours, that was the hardest part was the sleep deprivation,” he remembered. “That was really getting to me on top of all the miles. After mile 15 or so my legs were so stiff, just to go up or down the stairs in my house was a decision I had to make. Like is it really worth it to go upstairs?”
Like many in his generation, Davis-Dressner has been inspired by the recent protests across the country, and wanted to be an ally to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. He discussed the issue at length with some of his Black friends, and had a bit of a revelation while attending a recent protest.
“I could see the unity and then I also saw the true oppression that I was kind of blind to,” Davis-Dressner admitted. “I’m a White man in America, and I was not really aware of the true problems people were facing with police brutality … I never really internalized anything like that before. It hit close to home because I have friends who live blocks away from me that are going through these problems and this oppression that I didn’t really understand was there.
“I realized I need to help. Because there’s no reason they should be feeling that oppression when I come from the same type of background, but because of the color of my skin I’m not going through that.”
Support continued to roll in throughout the day as Davis-Dressner chronicled his hourly runs on social media. He received plenty of donations from friends throughout the day, but was surprised to get so much support from strangers as well.
“I got about half of my donations from people I didn’t know,” he said. “That was a really good feeling to have people supporting the cause.”
Davis-Dressner was joined by two of his friends, Brandon Brown and Jackson Errecart, for the last mile, helping him through the physical toll of running 24 miles in a day. He said he’s had a few friends ask if he would be interested in running it again, but he’s not sure if he’s up for it just yet.
“I told them I’ll do a few miles with them,” he said with a laugh.
After his run, Davis-Dressner continued to receive donations in support of his effort. Now that he’s submitted the money, Davis-Dressner is no longer taking donations himself, asking anyone interested in making a contribution to do so directly to Black Lives Matter LA.
In addition to the financial support, Davis-Dressner said he’s also gotten positive feedback and appreciation from friends in the Black community who recognize his efforts to raise awareness and act for change.
“One of my friends who’s African-American reached out to me, and he talked about how a lot of people my type wouldn’t make a stand,” Davis-Dressner explained. “He said ‘You’re really going out of your way to take a stand and be an ally, and that’s something we don’t see every day.’ I was just doing this for the cause, but on top of that knowing that I’m gaining stronger bonds with people because of this, it really made me feel good.”
Photo courtesy Trevor Davis-Dressner (middle), who is joined by friends Brandon Brown (left) and Jackson Errecart (right) prior to running the last mile of the day.