Before Philadelphia’s stay-at-home order went into effect in March, Iresha Picot walked in parks and neighborhoods all over the city, often meeting up with black women of all ages. Even though she’s been careful to follow social distancing guidelines, Picot says she’s still able to connect with a community nearly 750,000 strong.
“You have a community out there who are willing to hold you and hold space for you,” she says.
That community is GirlTrek, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and healing of black women and girls. Black women experience higher rates of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and suffer from the stressors of systemic racism.
Walking can add years to their lives, but GirlTrek co-founders Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon emphasize that it’s only one component of a holistic approach. When they founded the organization a decade ago, Dixon says they looked to black women’s history, discovering that, “when women walked and talked together, everything changed.”