In this episode, we had the opportunity to speak with Tyrone Irby, founder of Together We Stand NC. If you haven’t heard of it, Together We Stand NC is a grassroots movement that encourages conversations and educates people about race, diversity, and unity. We talk about what the organization is all about and also about the upcoming MAUD 2.23 Run event.

If you’re a runner, or even if you’re planning on becoming one this is a great way to start. Running and training in a run group for a cause will give you purpose and meaning and sufficient motivation to stick to this activity. So, let’s check out what Tyrone Irby has to say.

About Together We Stand NC

The year 2020 saw a lot of turmoil revolving around racism and injustice. Even though these incidents are not isolated or new to Americans, after the news of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery broke through, the movement gained momentum. People had enough and were angry, regardless of their race.

Tyrone Irby

While anger may be very necessary for this situation, the result of so much anger and rage is often chaos and yelling. More often than not, this rage is misdirected.

It does not allow room for conversations. While anger may very well be the driving force of a movement, real, sustainable change cannot come through without conversations.

This is what Together We Stand NC stands for. They want to encourage conversations about racial equity, gender, and inequality and create awareness about these issues through various events and activities. Everyone involved is working hard to create a community of individuals who are dedicated to eradicating inequality and establishing justice.

Tyrone Arby founded this organization intending to provide a space for everyone to come together and listen to each other and understand other people’s points of view. When you listen, you learn. That’s what awareness is all about.

Language itself is a powerful tool. It can be used to empower someone or belittle or hurt them. So, we should have more conversations on how language can be used and should be used. How it has the power to change how we view ourselves and others with regards to race, gender, and identity.

Together We Stand NC promotes discussions about Critical Race Theory, Anti-racism, Diversity, Privilege, Microaggression, Implicit Bias, Ally, Intersectionality, Inclusion, Equity, Diversity and so much more. It regularly holds these discussions, available for anyone to register with the Courageous Conversations program.

Why Conversations About Race & Gender Are Important?

Courageous Conversations

Having conversations with anyone, no matter their race can often be uncomfortable and difficult. But if you don’t talk about race, you don’t learn about it. In return, this creates a cycle of injustice and bias towards other races. We are usually afraid of things we cannot understand. This is why conversations need to be had.

We are far from a racist and inequality-free world. It’s a huge problem even in today’s day and age. And that’s why it’s such a pressing issue. We shouldn’t be having such ignorance around these issues in the age of the internet and enlightenment. Here are a few reasons why it’s still very important to have these conversations.

  • Education and Awareness

Bias, racism, and inequity can often stem from a fear of the unknown. We as human beings are usually wary of things we don’t quite understand or things that seem foreign to us. Often, it’s not that someone is simply a bad person and acts racist towards someone. Things are usually more complicated.

There are a lot of people who simply do not understand other races. They are foreign to them. So, they act out on it, to feel less threatened. These things have been going on for generations and education and awareness can fix a lot of these issues.

When you are properly educated about cultures different from your own, you learn to respect them. You understand how similar we all are, even if we look different or come from different backgrounds. While education alone cannot fix systemic issues, it can help create a much safer environment for all of us.

What better way to learn than through conversations? Understanding and listening to someone’s story of inequality or racism can often have a much more emotional impact on you and it stays with you. This is what Together We Stand aims to build, education and awareness through shared experiences.

  • Empathy

Learning about race in school is much different than experiencing these real-life issues people have to deal with. You are much more likely to be emotionally involved if you can hear someone you know is facing difficulties due to these issues. It enables empathy.

When you sit and listen to other people and conversations and interactions with different kinds of people you begin to feel for them and you truly understand this is a battle for us all, and not just people of color or a certain gender.

MEGA Influencers wearing Maud 2.23 run shirts

For instance, if you have never had to listen to a mother raising a black child in this community and the kinds of worries and fears she has for her child, this is something you might never think about yourself. Listening to real-life people share their experiences makes you feel empathy for them.

You might have a child of your own. And it might strike a chord with you. You should never have to worry about your child coming to harm just for the color of their skin. These are things you may not consider unless you have to face them. Especially if you are in a position of privilege, these problems can feel very foreign to you.

These emotional conversations need to take place for they trigger a genuine reaction in everyone. It helps people understand the issue, how critical it is, and how widespread it is. We can’t keep living in a bubble.

  • Differing Points of View

With so many different experiences and so many differences between everyone, it’s only natural people have different views. We shape our opinions around the environment we grow up in. Our experiences define us.

For instance, a white male in New York is going to have a vastly different lifestyle and views different from a black non-binary person who grew up in Brazil. With globalization, we must learn about these differences and how to respect them.

Ken Woods quote - Real change requires real sacrifice. What are you willing to give up?

This is what Courageous Conversations is looking to promote. Space to have conversations and talk about experiences so other people can see where you are coming from. It’s not always just a matter of right or wrong, but these are conversations with a lot of nuances and each opinion and bias has often a long history of experiences that have affected your worldview.

Hence, honest conversations where people are engaging and listening can help open your mind up and make you understand how someone else thinks. These conversations allow everyone to have a voice and allow other people to understand different experiences and points of view.

The MAUD 2.23 Run

In honor of Black History Month, February and to remember the late Ahmaud Arbery, Together We Stand is organizing the MAUD 2.23 Run. The aim is to not only remember and acknowledge the tragedy of Arbery’s death but also to have these conversations and educate people.

There is a run all week long, allowing people to learn about the Arbery case and understand this wasn’t an isolated incident. Things like this are still happening, every day in some cities. It’s about building awareness and remembering the souls we’ve already lost.

A portion of the proceeds will also be going to the Eastern North Carolina Chapter, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro, Building Hope in Greenville, and Charlotte’s Running Works. So sign up today to run for a cause!

Maud 2.23 ShirtMaud 2.23 Shirt - back

The Stronger and Faster Durham Program

The Stronger and Faster Durham program will help you train for runs and give you proper strength training. Mr. Irby is a certified trainer himself in this program and with him, you’re in good hands. He has been working as a strength coach with runners for the last 10 years. So, he has a lot of experience in teaching.

The goal of this training program is to prevent injury and make you stronger and faster and fit. From semi-professional athletes to teenagers or even retired athletes, this program is suitable for everyone. All you need to do is show up. It’s the perfect way to prepare for the MAUD 2.23 Run!

If you’re a complete beginner or need some new running shoes, then check out Omega Sports to get the perfect gear for your run.


Race, diversity, equity, and unity are issues that affect us all. It’s high time we start engaging in these conversations, regardless of what race, ethnicity, or gender you are. Participating in events like the MAUD 2.23 Run, where you can run in a running group with other like-minded runners can help you stay engaged in the community while being fit and also running for a cause!