February is Black History Month, a time when we honor the rich perspectives and contributions of Black Americans. In the spirit of the month and the power of movement that drives our efforts daily at Walk with a Doc, we’re highlighting 5 inspiring leaders who motivate their communities to walk together. We invite you to check them out and learn more about their stories.
Inspiring Self-Care and Movement – Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison
In 2010, two best friends – Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison – decided that they wanted to be a part of changing the statistical outcomes for Black women in America. Starting as a hiking group for 5th-graders, GirlTrek has since blossomed into the nation’s largest public health nonprofit for Black women. Today, over 1 million girls and women have pledged to walk 30-minutes each day for their health through GirlTrek’s outstanding programming!
Learn more about GirlTrek.
Sources: (Sierra Club, Yes Magazine, CNN )
Inspiring Unity – Shawn Dromgoole
In the wake of the summer 2020 killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, Shawn Dromgoole felt afraid to walk alone in his neighborhood. He shared these sentiments on social media and to his surprise, over 70 of his neighbors showed up to walk with him later that week. Today, you can find Shawn leading walks in Nashville and across the U.S. where everyone feels safe, heard, and connected with their neighbors.
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyle Changes – Linda Fondren
In 2009, Linda Fondren founded Shape Up Vicksburg after her home state of Mississippi was deemed “the unhealthiest state”. Through free fitness and nutrition classes, city-government partnerships, and a Walk with a Doc program, Linda inspired her community to lose 15,000 pounds collectively. This inspiring story is detailed in her first book, Shape Up Sisters, a must-read which details a “get-healthy prescription for everyday women with jobs, families, and real-life obstacles.” Today, Linda continues her amazing work through Shape Up Vicksburg and is also a renowned public speaker, certified health coach, yoga instructor, and CNN Hero.
Inspiring Health Equity – Phronie Jackson, Ph.D
Phronie Jackson is a dynamic and passionate leader who has dedicated her life to research, education, and program development to dissolve the health disparities faced by underserved communities. Since 2016, Phronie has spearheaded the Walk Ward 5 Coalition in D.C. by partnering with local community organizations and Walk with a Doc. Walk Ward 5 provides free and accessible wellness events to underserved residents around topics of mental health, chronic disease prevention, and the powers of regular physical activity. In addition, she is an America Walks’ Walking College Fellow and a professor of Public Health at the University of the District of Columbia.