We're back!!!  The national staff is back from far off pursuits of baby-making, Parisian wine and Bajan surf adventures - not in that order! ...and DEFINITELY not at the same time.  (Please direct all baby love to Mrs. Hubb!)

...and we are ready to roll! Today, my job was to write an epic email to you.  A "Welcome back!" Virtual high five!  I wanted to write something...

 

... that fired you up and prepared you for the season ahead.  

Our Black History Month recruitment campaign starts in 14 days.  14 little old days.  ...and we ain't ready, it's 9:55pm my time, my dogs are hurting and I'm in a Lebanese food coma.  
So sorry team, I can't write flowery words tonight.  Nope.  

 

The good news is...
I don't have to.  No words needed today. 
Why? 
Because today was friggin' awesome!  I spent the entire day with trekkers in New Orleans and  I will share 5 moments that inspired the "ahh get out" out of me!

 

Moment #1: Brown Boys.  
Scroll up to the photo in the banner.  For real.  Study it.  Look at the absolute beauty of these babies.  As I looked at them through my camera's view finder, I noticed something truly inspiring -  a trekker was recruiting their mother! Just imagine.  If their mama starts walking with us, all of the odds - of crushing statistics facing black boys -  improve.  When mothers are loved, everything changes.
 
Moment #2: No Signs Necessary.  
We started running out of flyers after the first few block of the parade route ...and didn't matter one bit.  Nope.  Not at all.  Because the smiles.  ...the sashays.  ...the sisterly hugs spoke loud and clear. "Who are they?  What is GirlTrek?  Oh they are getting it!!"  The crowd noticed our glow.

Moment #3:  Love heals.  I caught this GirlTrek volunteer making googly eyes with her man who happens to be the deputy chief (or some other important title) with the New Orleans Fire Department.  Too much cuteness.
There are three - count them THREE p GirlTrek-Firefighter love stories in NOLA. #SmokingHot


Moment #4: A Moment with Dr. King
As we lined up for a group photo in front of Dr. King's statue, I remembered a simple and powerful prayer offered by a pastor this morning. "May we be BOLD for peace and justice."   Looking at this picture tonight, I know that God is already answering that prayer.  These women are bold.  They are trailblazers in parks every single Saturday.  They are doing the work.  "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."  Dr. King said that. 


Moment #5: Truth to Power
Why on earth did Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans do a full-on photo shoot with GirlTrek today?  A) Because he looooooves us! and B) Because our volunteers made him do it. lol.  They are street soldiers, and they KNOWwe'll need those pictures one day for a complete takeover.   Exhilarating.  


Moment #6:  A Good Night's Sleep
"Remember that time, during the MLK parade, when we completely tuckered out that baby boy and totally inspired his big sister?"  Priceless.


Moment #7:  Hurricane Charlene [My Favorite]
After the parade, we went for a sunset trek through the devastated streets of the Lower Ninth Ward. I've never felt such intense and sincere love for community. These women bring life back ...every walk, every day.  It is absolutely poetic that they find solace along the very levee that breached all sense of security.  One of the women in this photograph is Charlene.  She has not missed a day of walking in months.  She's lost 60lbs since I saw her in September.  Tonight, she said, "GirlTrek saved my life."  I wonder if she knows that she is saving the life of her neighborhood? 
Today reminded me of why I love GirlTrek.  Such joy.  Sincerity.  Freedom
 
Nothing short of necessary.
 
We cannot WAIT for another year with each and every one of you.
Welcome back, 

Morgan and Vanessa