1. For those who don’t know, tell us about Girl Trek and what you hope to accomplish in New Orleans?
When Black women walk, things change. When Harriet Tubman walked, things changed. When the women in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts walked, things changed. And when we walk, things will change. GirlTrek is a groundbreaking 3-year-old national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C that inspires and supports African American women and girls to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives — simply by walking. GirlTrek has been organizing in New Orleans for the last six months. We hope to inspire and motivate our women and girls to move, to get active, to embrace getting fit and healthy by walking/trekking. Through grassroots organizing we aim to partner with local churches, school PTAs, community organizations, local companies and our health organization to further education and encourage our women to join the movement.
Monthly challenges are issued and as teams or cities we motivate each other to accomplish them. One Saturday a month we host Girltrek SuperHero Saturday. On SuperHero Saturday everyone comes together for a community focused trek event. Our February event was the exploration of Treme. I felt this was important to learn about the journey of local blacks before heading to Selma. Our tour was given by one of our own Girltrek historians, Urica Regis whose passion about this issue was motivating to both the adults and the 9 year olds on the trek. This trek also reinforced that we are a people who can over come the hurdles to do anything that we want. We walked from Congo Square (Armstrong Park) to St. Augustine Catholic church, and ended in the French Quarter at the Black-owned cafe, Meals From the Heart.
3. Girl Trek toured Treme and then traveled to walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the Selma 50 year commemoration. If you can describe what it was like to go from Treme to Selma and back to New Orleans. What Selma lessons can we utilize in our quest for justice in New Orleans? It was an overwhelming feeling making the trip to Selma, filled with mixed emotion of joy, sadness and the reality that we still have so much to do as a people, community and society. Our bus to Selma had elders who has experienced 1965.I had the pleasure of marching to the bridge with them on Sunday. Amidst the thousands and the hot sun they said ” we can do it, we have to do it,” brought tears to may eyes. The marchers in 1965 did not give up, they kept going back to the bridge and were strategists. I think we must learn from that, we cannot give up and we must be smart in how we organize ourselves and our community allies in order to get results.
4.What’s next for Girl Trek and how can some interested become involved?
I am so excited for the upcoming months of Girltrek New Orleans. We are blessed with some dedicated volunteers who you will see out in the neighborhoods inviting the community to join us. In March we have pledged to walk 54 miles( Selma to Montgomery is 54 miles.). We kick off our trekking season in April by doing the Crescent City Classic. On next Superhero Saturday we will participate in the Brenda Brown 5K in Joe Brown Park on April 11. Each month to follow we will continue our weekly walks in the parks, from churches and Xavier to keep us fit, and motivated. Everyone is welcomed, all levels, abilities and ages. For more information and to trek with us: join us on Facebook at ‘GirlTrek New Orleans”, www.girltrek.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504-571-9634
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Kelly Harris is the editor of BrassyBrown.com