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Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey – Black Girls RUN!

Black Girls RUN! is Motivating African-American Women to Take Their Health Seriously by Running


Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey created Black Girls RUN! (website) in 2009 to tackle obesity, disease, and workout apathy in the African-American community for women.

Black Girls RUN! Mission Statement:

The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. BGR! wants to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently, lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

The group has now grown to over 60 local clubs across the United States in a relatively short amount of time.

The ladies told the The Tennessean some of the obstacles African-American women face when it comes to wanting to run:

The message faces multiple obstacles: cultural perceptions, ingrained food and beauty customs, lack of a receptive environment or safe place to be active, and the belief that recreational running is simply not something black people do.

Carey even told the newspaper a reason her mom told her she was scared to run that is actually pretty funny.

“She told me black women don’t run,” Carey recalls. “And then she told me all the reasons why, including my uterus was going to fall out, which happens to be this myth that prevails. It’s crazy.”

Often though we are told myths or reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t run or do something we are curious about doing.  Often that excuse or reason is planted within us by someone who is afraid, scared, or sometimes even jealous that we want to do something so ‘foreign’ or ‘extreme’ to them.

Carey didn’t hold back in telling the newspaper another reason African-American women are sometimes timid to try running is their ‘hair.’

And though they often feel strange saying it, hair also impacts activity. Because of the products black women use to style their hair, they often don’t wash it every day. Sweating and then having to re-do their hair is a deterrent.

“As silly as it may sound, it really is a huge issue for black women,” Carey says. “Hair is supposed to look a certain way, you are supposed to fit in this certain stereotype. There’s a lot of apprehension going natural.”

Another reason Carey listed was that it’s not always safe to run through some of the neighborhoods that some women live in.

She concluded though that the biggest reason African-American women often don’t run is lack of an example or positive role model when it comes to athletics and running.

Every community of every ethnicity needs strong women like Ashley and Toni to lead, inspire, and motivate women and men alike to take better care of their health through education and being active.

Congrats to Ashley and Toni on what they’ve been able to accomplish in the African-American community in the past couple of years.

Black Girls RUN! Website

[image: Black Girls RUN!]

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