How Black Women are Walking
to Take Their Power Back
BY RACHEL CAVANAUGH
walk, things change.”
And today, the women of GirlTrek are walking together to foster community, learn more about their history, and find healing through their shared experiences.
“Since I joined the movement, I found that a lot of the weight that I was carrying was not actual physical weight,” explained Cherelle Darby, a member of the Houston chapter. “It was just a lot of things that had happened in my life. There are no words to describe the transformation.”
In addition to community building, it helps the women improve their mental and physical health.
Some women have credited GirlTrek with helping them overcome depression, escape domestic violence, lose weight, reduce anxiety, and improve their cardiovascular health.
In terms of mental health, Black women are half as likely to seek help for depression as white women, and are affected by a number of stress-related mental health conditions as well.
Some of these health discrepancies are thought to be genetic, while others may be due to cultural and historical factors. Microaggressions and systemic racism faced by Black women likely play a role as well.
“Black women tend to carry the weight of the world, our communities, and our families on our shoulders,” said Sharon Watkins Jones.
Walking, however, can reduce that weight, both physically and mentally, Jones said.
She added that walking has always been an integral part of Black history, which makes it even more meaningful.
“Walking has been a part of the Civil Rights Movement, even a part of the exodus from slavery,” she said.
our continued effort to encourage everyone to get outside.
The organization also offers a podcast called Black History Boot Camp, a 21-day series of walking meditations. Each episode features important figures or topics in Black history. As the women walk, they can listen to the episodes and learn more about their history and culture.
Additionally, the organization focuses on making green spaces safer and more accessible, as well as protecting natural areas. It has initiatives in 50 high-need communities across the United States to improve local walkability.
Participants have said that the group fosters sisterhood and makes women feel inspired.
Copperfield agreed, saying that it's amazing to get to watch other Black women become stronger, healthier, and more empowered.
“It’s such an incredible thing to see all these Black women taking up space, declaring it for our strength,” she said.
“When Black women walk, things change.”