March 6-10: 5 Days. 10 Black women. 100 miles. On foot.
In honor of Harriet Tubman, the greatest freedom fighter that ever was, GirlTrek, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, will follow in her footsteps – literally. The entire national team will start-off from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where Harriet Tubman made her first escape, and walk the path she took to freedom.
That’s right: 10 Black women setting out for Harriet’s Great Escape, the ultimate 100-mile trek along the Underground Railroad, on foot. The journey begins on Tuesday, March 6th and culminates with GirlTrek crossing the Mason Dixon Line into Delaware on March 10th, Harriet Tubman Day and a public celebration. The public celebration is 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park located at 815 Justison St. in Wilmington, Delaware, 19801.
The GirlTrek national team includes cofounders Vanessa Garrison of Seattle, Washington, currently living in Washington, D.C.; and T. Morgan Dixon of Sacramento, California; as well as jewel bush of New Orleans, Louisiana; Onika Jervis originally of Guyana, currently living in New Orleans, Louisiana; Chyna Johnson of Columbus, Ohio; Carla Harris of Atlanta, Georgia; Sandria Washington of Chicago, Illinois; Nicole Hubb of Prince George’s County, Maryland; Opa Johnson of Miami, Florida and Edisha Brandy from Haven, Connecticut by way of the United States Virgin Islands.
“We realized that we can’t just talk the talk. We will show and prove that 2018 is about radical courage and unshakeable sisterhood,” says GirlTrek cofounder, T. Morgan Dixon. “We’re walking the Underground Railroad. To reach 1 million Black women by 2020, we knew we needed to be even bolder and hold this unprecedented trek. Harriet Tubman saved her own life first and then went back time after time to save the lives of others giving us the blueprint for the work GirlTrek does today. This is radical self-care at its core.”
Since 2013, the 100th year anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s passing, GirlTrek has recognized Harriet Tubman each year by mobilizing thousands of Black women from across the country to walk in her honor in the largest moving tribute, #WeAreHarriet.
Coming off the heels of Black History Month and squarely in the middle of Women’s History Month, this Underground Railroad crossing is monumental. There is a health crisis in America and Black women and girls are among the hardest hit. Every day 137 Black women die from heart disease. This is more than gun violence, HIV/AIDS and smoking combined. And the effects of chronic stress are wearing on Black women mentally, physically and spiritually. Black women die younger and at higher rates than any other group of women in the country: 82% of Black women are currently overweight, 53% are morbidly obese (CDC, 2014), and 95% of Black girls, ages 6-11, will be overweight or obese women by 2034 unless diet and levels of activity change. (Garko, Michael, The Journal of Obesity, 2013).
“The reality is Black women and girls are living under trying circumstances. Many of us live in communities that are under extreme stress whether it be from crime, lack of a living wage, blight or gentrification and the current political climate is only making matters worse,” adds GirlTrek cofounder, Vanessa Garrison. “Now, it is even more important that GirlTrek works to reestablish walking as a healing tradition. We believe that, as women, we are going to have to also liberate, one, ourselves and then come back and be examples and liberate our family. And one of the things we say is that, if Harriet Tubman could walk herself to freedom, we can certainly walk ourselves to better health.”
GirlTrek is the largest public health movement and nonprofit for Black women and girls in the United States.
The entire GirlTrek national team will walk the ultimate 100-mile trek along the Underground Railroad, on Tuesday, March 6th through March 10th, Harriet Tubman Day. The Public celebration is 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park located at 815 Justison St. in Wilmington, Delaware, 100 miles from the Eastern Shore of Maryland crossing the Mason Dixon Line into Delaware.
Follow along social media using the hashtag #HarrietsGreatEscape.