Data News Weekly Staff Report
GirlTrek, the largest National Public Health non-profit and movement for Black women and girls, is bringing radical self-care and healing to the City of Detroit as part of its yearlong, 50-stop #RoadToSelma Tour, a national wellness revival complete with storytelling, sweat, self-care and sisterhood.
GirlTrek’s New Orleans #RoadToSelma teach-in is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday June 22nd at the New Orleans Jazz Market located at 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, 70113. The #RoadToSelma teach-in will be led by GirlTrek Co-Founders T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison and is open to Black women and girls, who seek to heal their bodies, inspire their daughters and reclaim the streets of their neighborhoods.
“Self-care is the revolution: Our lives are sacred. We stage tiny acts of rebellion to reclaim our time. GirlTrek is creating a bright and beautiful new culture of physical activity to disrupt disease in the highest-need communities in the United States. We practice shining our own lights and shining that light brightly,” said GirlTrek CEO and Co-Founder, T. Morgan Dixon. “Our guiding question is this: Is this nourishing me or Black women? If no, we don’t do it. If yes, we take pleasure in it. We seek pleasure because joy heals.”
Factors like chronic poverty, the stress of underemployment and unsafe streets, and cultural norms that value service above self-care have all contributed to Black women engaging in fewer leisure-time physical activities. As a result, 82% of Black women are overweight and 59% are obese. Obesity plus inactivity equals early death and higher rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
GirlTrek believes the solution to this health crisis is simple: Daily walking has been proven to reduce the risk factors of obesity. GirlTrek uses walking as that first, practical step in helping a woman begin her journey to overall improved health and wellness.
“We are not a fitness organization. We are a campaign for total healing. We are a vanguard of public health activists walking to save our own lives. We walk to live our healthiest, most fulfilled lives,” said COO and Co-Founder, Vanessa Garrison. “By 2020, GirlTrek’s goal is to mobilize one million Black women to walk — at lifesaving levels — to reverse the devastating impacts of chronic illness and obesity.”
To reach one-million Black women, GirlTrek will organize and train 10,000 of the most committed women as a new vanguard of public health activists, the largest corps of Black Public Health Professionals in the U.S. They will serve as healthy role models across the nation using practical skills and an unwavering sense of purpose to recruit new walkers, eliminate structural and policy barriers to health, and lead local events that set the standard for healthy communities.
The New Orleans #RoadToSelma stop follows Jackson, MS, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, Newark and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. All #RoadToSelma events require advanced registration. Sneakers are required for all activities. Pop-up events and new city stops may be added. The #RoadToSelma was launched on the TED stage on April 11, 2018 as part of the Audacious Project. Visit girltrek.org for more information.
GirlTrek’s #RoadToSelma culminates with #SummerOfSelma, scheduled for May 24-27, 2019. Inspired by the teach-ins of the Civil Rights Era, “Summer of Selma” will be a three-day immersive experience divided into three parts: skills training, a “Woodstock-style” music festival and a trek that will retrace the historic 54-mile Selma to Montgomery route. Think old-school tent revival meets Wanderlust and Coachella.