The first Freedom Runner race was held in Belgrade, Serbia in April 2019. It was dedicated to Marija Lukic, a survivor of sexual violence and Serbian #metoo heroine, who is still fighting her struggle for her rights on behalf of all women.
More than 200 civil society leaders and human rights activists were seen running through the streets of Belgrade as part of the action. The race served as the closing event of the CIVICUS International Civil Society Week 2019.
Freedom Runner movement was initiated by Civic Initiatives, an NGO from Belgrade, and CIVICUS network.
Civic Initiatives was founded in May 1996 by a group of prominent NGO activists that were involved in the anti-war movement and non-nationalist democratic opposition in Serbia in 1990s. Since then, Civic Initiatives respond to the need to create a civic base that sustains democratic values by supporting citizens’ activism and advocating for a better legal framework for civic participation.
CIVICUS is a global network of more than 6,500 civil society organisations and activists in 175 countries, dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.