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Photo Credit: Hope Street Group
Photo Credit: Hope Street Group

We are still celebrating Mother’s Day at EdNC.  Last Tuesday, I was in Washington, DC, for the Hope Street Group 7th annual colloquium.  Leaders from across the nation were invited to our nation’s capital to “design and build blueprints for change,” said president and CEO of Hope Street Group Martin Scaglione.  The idea is to “challenge and disrupt the status quo” by bringing the market to bear on social problems like health care, education, and jobs.

The other goal of the colloquium is to catalyze change by creating and energizing a network of leaders that embrace change, think outside the box, and draw on lessons learned from a variety of different experiences.  

Vanessa
Photo Credit: GirlTrek

Vanessa Garrison, the co-founder and director of GirlTrek, sat down across from me on Tuesday morning, and I knew she was my Mother’s Day story. I knew she was someone I wanted in our network of those wanting to take some big steps forward in North Carolina to create meaningful change in education.

And it wasn’t just because I trek. 

Last fall, I met with a young African-American student in an after school program.  One of her goals was to lose weight, but she flatly refused to walk outside. She has never lived in a neighborhood safe enough to walk. Walking outdoors is not a part of her reality. Everyday, she walks the halls and stairways of an old, renovated school instead.

Inexcusable.

Shame on us.

GirlTrek has a strong presence in some of our communities like Charlotte and Henderson, but I don’t ever want to meet another young girl who is scared to go for a walk outdoors.  It’s time to lace up.

Girl Trek snap

GirlTrek is a big idea because it is not just about motivating women to walk.  It is about putting an end to fear.  It does so by connecting younger women and older women in ways that build strength — healthier bodies, healthier relationships, healthier communities.

Vanessa and a small staff are pioneering this health movement for African-American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy.

29,173 women have taken the Girltrek pledge to re-establish walking as a healing tradition in neighborhoods across our country. Vanessa is shooting for 1 million women to join GirlTrek.  This video will show you how to join GirlTrek this Saturday and every Saturday.

“We are rowdy students with bullhorns on campus.  We are prayer warriors in basements of sanctuaries.  We are sultry spoken-word artists in Philly.  Some of us are celebrities. Some are hustlers.  All of us are worthy of lacing up, starting fresh and making self-care our mission.”  

Morgan Dixon, co-founder of GirlTrek

Photo Credit: GirlTrek/Flickr
Photo Credit: GirlTrek/Flickr

Here is more information about GirlTrek.

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.