What started as a walking challenge from two friends to get their family and friends moving has become the largest public health nonprofit for Black women and girls in the United States. GirlTrek is literally walking in the footsteps of women like Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Montgomery Bus boycotters to activate Black women to be change makers in their lives and communities.
GirlTrek is not a fitness or recreation organization but rather focused on the healing and lifestyle changes through walking. There is an unprecedented health crisis facing Black women in the United States — 82% are over a healthy weight; 67% get little to no leisure-time or daily exercise; and 137 die each day from heart disease, which is more than gun violence, HIV/AIDS and smoking combined. GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a first step to inspire healthy living.
Beyond walking, GirlTrek’s members advocate for reclaiming green spaces, improving access to safe places to walk, and increasing physical activity through walking. Its members engage their communities to support local and national advocacy and policy efforts. As an example, in advance of the 2020 election, GirlTrek created the largest 2020 voter mobilization effort led by Black women — #BlackGirlJusticeLeague (BGJL). The BGJL focused on increasing voter turnout in the Black community. Through their collective efforts, GirlTrek’s members are leading a civil rights-inspired health movement.
On November 19, 2020, a milestone was reached; the one millionth woman signed GirlTrek’s pledge to walk in their neighborhood each Saturday and to encourage others to do the same! Now over 1 million women strong, GirlTrek’s goal is to help extend the life expectancy of 10 million women by 10 years.
“GirlTrek is an army of 1 million Black women alongside allies, partners, funders and friends who have decided to hold the line and fight this health crisis with us. Together, we will disrupt the isolation, injustice, and inactivity that Black women face.” – Jaida Vaugt, Chief of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships