Fannie Lou Hamer's 100th
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Largest Centennial Celebration Underway for Fannie Lou Hamer
WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
October 6 would have been Civil Rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer’s 100th birthday and GirlTrek, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, is celebrating her legacy by hosting 100 local walks.
“In the iconic words of Fannie Lou Hamer, we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. She died too soon putting her body on the line for our freedom and we want to celebrate her life in a big way. In her honor, we are going to raise an army of sisters, #FanniesArmy, who will lead 100 walks across America," said GirlTrek cofounder T. Morgan Dixon.
GirlTrek invites women everywhere to use this centennial to jumpstart their own health journeys! The organization is looking for the new generation of Fannie Lou Hamers.
To participate in #FanniesArmy, drop everything and walk for 100 minutes at sunset on October 6th wherever you are with your family and friends. GirlTrek's goal is to inspire 100 new leaders that day. To be counted, register your walk at https://rebrand.ly/fanniesarmy.
The first 100 leaders to sign up will receive special edition #FanniesArmy T-shirts.
“While the country reels from conflict in Charlottesville, this is an opportunity to herald the legacy of an American hero who brought us together!” says Dixon.
She and GirlTrek's cofounder Vanessa Garrison, national staff and board of directors will travel to Hamer's memorial statue in her hometown in Ruleville, Mississippi to walk with local trekkers on the centennial celebration of her birth.
Known for her courage on the frontlines of the American Civil Rights Movement, Fannie Lou Hamer stunned the world with her electrifying account of brutal attacks and local terror in Jim Crow South. She stood strong, demanding the attention of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson by leading an unparalleled grassroots campaign and political party in Mississippi that delivered over 60,000 votes. Fannie Lou Hamer is directly responsible for securing the Voting Rights Act and changing the tide of justice.
The scale of her impact is made greater by her life story. Fannie Lou Hamer worked as a sharecropper from age 6. As a young woman, in an extralegal, violent act, she was given a forced hysterectomy. Unbroken, she adopted children. At 44 years old, Fannie Lou Hamer joined the American Civil Rights Movement. From church basements to the White House, Hamer was celebrated for her ability to inspire everyday people to action.
Dixon says, "She died too early at 59, her body riddled with heart disease and cancer. I'm reminded of the words of R. Boylorn, [Hamer] "never saw death coming because she was too busy taking care of others." She worked tirelessly in field offices and late hours registering people to vote. When pain rendered her homebound, she taught Freedom Riders the ways of resistance in her night gown from her front porch.”
GirlTrek is committed to honoring her legacy by preventing chronic, stress-related diseases for a new generation! GirlTrek will honor 100 years of Fannie Lou Hamer's legacy with 100 groups of Black women walking, talking and initiating change together.
There is a health crisis in America and Black women and girls are among the hardest hit. 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).
To put your first walk on GirlTrek's national map, contact Carla Harris, Director of Organizing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. In four years, GirlTrek has mobilized more than 100,000 Black women and girls nationwide. By 2020, GirlTrek’s goal is to motivate 1 million Black women and girls to walk for better health. Cofounders, Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon, recently took the GirlTrek story to the global stage at TED 2017: Walking as a revolutionary act of self-care. Visit www.girltrek.org for more information.
National Director of Communication
National Director of Organizing