Hundreds of families and loved ones across the country are gathering this Thanksgiving weekend to launch a new family tradition — the #BlackFamily5K.
Instead of shopping and overspending,, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, is encouraging families to invest their time improving their collective health by getting out in nature and getting healthy together.
“Nobody does tradition better than Black folks. We jump the broom. We sing Stevie’s version of ‘Happy Birthday.’ We drape Kente cloth over our graduation robes. We cook black-eyed peas on New Year and play spades at every birthday party. On Thanksgiving, we pull out grandma’s sweet potato pie recipe, argue on the phone about who is making the potato salad, make amends with family members we haven’t spoken to all year and shed tears for those who are no longer here to celebrate with us,” said GirlTrek cofounder, Vanessa Garrison. “And for the past two years, GirlTrek has added one more tradition to the list of things that make our celebrations unique — post-Thanksgiving Black Family 5K walks.”
Factors like chronic poverty, the stress of underemployment and unsafe streets, and cultural norms that value service above self-care have all contributed to Black women engaging in fewer leisure-time physical activities. As a result, 82% of Black women are overweight and 59% are obese. Obesity plus inactivity equals early death and higher rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
GirlTrek believes the solution to this health crisis is simple: Daily walking has been proven to reduce the risk factors of obesity. GirlTrek uses walking as that first, practical step in helping a woman begin her journey to overall improved health and wellness.
“We invite you to join hundreds of women across the country to host a #BlackFamily5K with your family this Thanksgiving. Aunties, uncles, grandparents and neighbors will gather after dinner on Thursday or during the holiday weekend to walk together. This is a new tradition,” Garrison said.