GirlTrek is the largest health organization for Black women in the US with a goal to inspire a million women to walk to reverse the devastating impacts of chronic disease. Of these women, 10,000 of the brightest and most committed will be trained to serve as a new vanguard of public health activists who lead weekly walks, recruit new members, provide one-on-one interventions and serve as healthy role models in the highest-need communities in America.
Photo caption: GirlTrek couldn’t hold their Stress Protest gathering like they did in 2019 — instead they developed extensive digital content, dramatically boosting membership and engagement. / GirlTrek
In 2020, 570,000 Black women took the GirlTrek pledge, with monthly membership growing on average by 50,000 per month. GirlTrek closed out the year with a historic milestone — reaching its Audacious goal of mobilizing one million Black women.
In response to COVID-19, GirlTrek trained and deployed the Care Crusaders — a skilled and compassionate group of mental health volunteers — to manage a 24/7 crisis hotline for members. They also created the GirlTrek Gives Back Fund to provide financial assistance to members in crisis, and produced live programming to enable members confined at home to continue their journeys of physical and mental health.
GirlTrek launched multiple media efforts: including three editions of Black History Bootcamp, a 21-day walking podcast that helped more than 160,000 women reach their long-term behavior change goals; and #DaughtersOf, a multimedia campaign — featuring the stories of legendary Black women such as Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni and Bernice King — that engaged more than 1.2 million viewers.
Ahead of the US election, GirlTrek relaunched #BlackGirlJusticeLeague, the largest voter mobilization effort led by Black women. It rallied members to lead walks to voter registration, as well as to drop off ballots and head to polling places. This effort was supported by Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote campaign.
GirlTrekkers On The Frontlines
Amber Field, National Director of Training
What concerns you most right now? What’s the best way to support the community?
I’m most concerned about helping ensure that those who feel a sense of isolation and uncertainty — which is so palpable — get the support they need. We may never return to the lives we knew prior to COVID-19. Right now, we're offering opportunities for the GirlTrek community to get trained with exceptional certification partners — Stanford’s School of Public Health, Sierra Club, American Council on Exercise, Mental Health First Aid. We’re underwriting the cost of certification so our women can complete their training without financial concern.
Carla Harris, Community Care Manager
How did the pandemic change your work?
COVID-19 hit our community hard. So we had to act fast, before we purchased a catchy 800 number or fine-tuned our onboarding plan. Our members needed GirlTrek to be there to listen — someone had to answer the calls. That person was me. So I said a prayer, set my alarm and put in the work. I took the calls, talked to the sisters, shared resources to help them navigate their current reality. I was a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for three weeks, from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week. It grounded me. It made me realize that this movement is a lifeline.
“GirlTrek is inspired by Black women throughout history who left us a blueprint for survival. Who is more resilient than us? Four hundred years of waging war against a system that was designed to break us has prepared Black women to not just weather the storms of today, but to be the leaders and beacons of light that the world so desperately needs. We leaned into that knowledge to adjust the GirlTrek 2020 season.”