Self-care is not only a form of self-love, it is a form of resistance. 

That is why GirlTrek is helping Black women across the nation “resist” by living — and learning.

The Black women’s health movement is grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy. GirlTrek members have organized walk teams in hundreds of cities and towns, mobilizing to reclaim their health while reestablishing walking as a healing tradition. 

Why walking? Because Black women experience higher rates of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and suffer from the stressors of systemic racism.

And while walking is the first step in reclaiming our health, it’s also a way to reclaim our history, by following in the steps of foremothers who walked for survival and liberation — whether retracing Harriet Tubman’s 100-mile journey to freedom or the historic 54-mile civil rights walk from Selma to Montgomery.

Their most recent initiative, “Black History Boot Camp,” offers  daily reflections on the activism of African American women throughout history. “In this moment, as we fight for our very sanity, our communities, our babies, ourselves, our men –we turn to the most beautiful source, the Black women who walked before us. We are not invisible. You will not break us, steal from, reject us, murder us and then demand that we do the labor of turning the world right-side up,” said GirlTrek cofounder T. Morgan Dixon. “We are the #DaughtersOf freedom fighters, of waymakers, strategists and builders of nations … authors, artists, soldiers, and spies. And in order to know where we’re going in this moment, we need to know where we have been.”

After intergenerational conversations with civil rights legends such as Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni went viral on Facebook, GirlTrek launched its first Black History Bootcamp, a 21-day series of walking meditations to honor freedom fighters such as Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm and Nina Simone as well as less often celebrated women, including Georgia Gilmore, whose secret kitchen helped feed and fund the civil rights movement.

The Bootcamp kicked-off on June 1st, and gave Black women the opportunity to learn about legendary and revolutionary Black women in history like Audre Lorde, Ella Baker, Shirly Chisholm, Georgia Gilmore and Nina Simone. Because it takes 21 days to form a habit, but also to do a deep dive into the history that serves as a foundation for the existing protests and Black Lives Matter movement.

“We want you to start a life-saving habit of daily walking with us. Science has shown that it takes 21 days to successfully build a habit – and we promise you that if you complete this challenge, it will change your life,” said GirlTrek cofounder Vanessa Garrison.

The 600,000-member movement encourages black women to walk 30 minutes a day, five times a week, per CDC guidelines, as a way to improve physical and mental health.

The challenge is free and open to everyone regardless of race or gender.  For more information and to sign up visit https://www.girltrek.org/blackhistorybootcamp.

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