For those who can't resist dropping it low every time they hear a beat drop. For the ones who quote Audre Lorde and the ones who quote Madea. For the ones rocking locs and crochet braids and itty-bitty naturals, and the ones with purple hair and silky weave. For the prayer warriors and the saints. For the ones who found God at the top of a mountain...a yoga mat...
...staring back at them in the mirror. For the sorors. For the baby mamas. For our queer sisters always pushed to the margins. For those with three letters behind their names and those who graduated from the school of hard knocks. For the size 12's and the size 22's. For the righteous and the ratchet. For the ones still looking for their magic and the ones who are full of sorcery. This work is for you. #GirlTrek
On Wednesday we had our first official GirlTrek staff dinner of 2016. At the table were 6 Black women diverse in our backgrounds, passions and gifts, but all united in the work of healing our families and communities.
This dinner was special because it included GirlTrek's two newest staff members. That's right! Our team of three just gotten bigger and badder! Please join us in welcoming Onika Jervis and Angela White.
About these two amazing women...
Onika Jervis will serve as GirlTrek's new Chief of Strategic Expansion. Onika will focus on takeover cities and leveraging the power of GirlTrek's nationally trained organizers to grow the movement to 1 million women by 2018. Onika comes to this role after serving for over a year in a volunteer capacity as a GirlTrek City Captain for New Orleans where she successfully engaged city-leaders, provided targeted support to GirlTrek volunteers, organized the takeover of 8 local parks, and registered a record number of women. Onika is the former Associate Director, Graduate Center and University Summer Programs at Xavier University and the former Executive Director of Youth Run NOLA. Onika is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Angela White will serve as the Operations Manger for GirlTrek. Angela will manage all backend processes for the organization. Angela has been a dedicated solo trekker with GirlTrek since 2012 and served as a vocal spokesperson, using her own powerful transformation story of losing more than 180 pounds, while also battling MS, as inspiration to recruit other women to the movement. Angela is the former Director of Program Faculty and Admissions for the American Studies Program at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Angela is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
In addition to Onika and Angela our staff dinner included GirlTrek board member Dr. Regina Benjamin - 18th US Surgeon General, community doctor, fierce advocate for the health rights of the disenfranchised and one of GirlTrek's biggest supporters. During dinner each of us shared our vision for GirlTrek over the next year. We also shared our health goals, talked candidly about the challenges of managing our dedication to the work with our own self-care, shared intimate details about our hopes and our fears and committed to support each other. #IAmMySistersKeeper
[Pictured: Vanessa, Onika, Morga, Angela, Dr. Benjamin and Nicole. We call ourselves the GirlTrek Dream Team!]
There was a consensus at dinner that GirlTrek has the potential to be the most powerful force for healing in the Black community. We agreed that with all of the #BlackGirlMagic sitting around the table it would be impossible for us to fail. The excitement was undeniable. The energy was electric and the resolve to do the work - fierce. We know you feel some of this too. Today Carla Harris of Atlanta wrote on Facebook: "Have you ever felt like you were a part of something bigger than yourself? Well, YOU ARE!!! #GirlTrek"
Dinner was fantabulous but we woke up yesterday ready to work! We spent the entire day holed up in GirlTrek's basement office putting the final touches on our game plan for the year. (Oh, you thought we just dreamed up all of this goodness while out every morning on a walk? LOL!)
Next week we will share our 2016 program calendar with you. Then we will begin the rollout of our brand new website and our #28in28 February challenge! Today, we're sharing a behind the scenes look at us making the magic happen. Let's call this photo essay, " #BlackGirlHealing: The Making of GirlTrek 2016!"
Morgan and Nicole Strategize
Onika's notebook is full of good ideas!
The GirlTrek program calendar is scrutinized. What stays, what goes?
Vanessa needs lots of coffee!
Everybody is hungry. Let's walk to lunch!
OMG!!! We spot GirlTrek on the side of the DC bus!
Campaigns are finalized. This year is going to be major!
We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek and that you are ready to hit the pavement with us. You can personally welcome Onika and Angela to the team by tweeting Onika here
and Angela here
It's going down!
Vanessa and Morgan