Our Story - GirlTrek

Our Story

1996 - Two Friends
It started with two friends
in Los Angeles, CA
Morgan and Vanessa met as college friends. They bonded over 2Pac, Nikki Giovanni and their inability to say no to smothered pork chops. GirlTrek was never an "aha moment" but a shared belief in radical acts of self-care.
2010 - Movement is Born
The GirlTrek Movement is Born!
We challenged our friends and families to walk with us - we walk to heal our bodies, inspire our daughters and reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods.
A Deeper Call to Action
Morgan shares her personal testimony:
"Something happened when I started to walk. The pace of the world slowed down. I started to heal. I became more aware of my body, more aware of the world around me. When I walked I felt transported."

"We don't just rattle off daunting statics, we are the statistics. We stay awake at night, have endless brainstorms, and are compelled to act every day. I calculated the average life expectancy of the women in the immediate family.It was 66."

Vanessa Garrison
Co-Founder, GirlTrek
April 2012
Volunteers Catch the Fire! Women Around the Country Organize Walks.
2012 - Eureka!
Eureka! A Community of Supporters Rally For the Cause

GirlTrek officially became a nonprofit organization and received its first major support from Teach for America.

"I was absolutely struck - by their leadership and passion and by the potential for GirlTrek to be a game changer for kids and communities in America!"

Wendy Kopp
CEO, Teach for America
2013 - We Are Harriet
15,000 Gather onthe National Mall#WeAreHarriet
GirlTrek organizes the largest moving tribute to the baddest freedom fighter the world has ever seen. Why? Because if Harriet could walk to freedom, we can walk for better health.
June 2013

The Media Starts Paying Attention. It Started with a Great Story by a Journalist from NationSwell.

"We are not a workout group. We are an army of women who are sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Vanessa Garrison
2013 - Reclaiming Our Streets
Reclaiming Our Streets
Wherever there’s injustice you can find GirlTrek on the frontlines. We walk to heal our bodies, inspire our daughters and reclaim the streets of our neighborhood.
August 2013
GirlTrek Named Top 1% of Social Innovators in the World by Echoing Green joining a global community of changemakers in delivery bold, innovative solutions to the world.
2013 - May
May 2013
GirlTrek Establishes National Volunteer Corps. Grassroots Organizers Train in Upstate NY. Like 60's Freedom Riders, volunteers took the bus to the training listening to Mavis Staples.
2014 - February
February 2014
Started from the bottom! Now our mamas finally understand that we have REAL jobs. GirlTrek is honored as health heroes by Essence Magazine.
2014 - White House
Selfies at The White House!
Imagine their surprise when Morgan and Vanessa got an email from the First Lady inviting them to The White House! From Michelle Obama to the 18th US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin who serves on the GirlTrek board, GirlTrek is representing at the highest levels.
December 2014
Grassroots movement attracts national sponsors! Watch Morgan and Vanessa make their national debut in an REI Christmas commercial.
2015 - March
March 2015
GirlTrek buses 500 Organizers to Selma for the 50th Anniversary Selma to Montgomery Bridge March.
2015 - FLOTUS
March 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama officially joins the #GirlTrek revolution.
2016 - April
April 2016
GirlTrek in The New York Times. "Years ago we said, this health crisis needs to be on the front page of every major newspaper in America."
2016 - November
November 2016
GirlTrek becomes the largest health nonprofit for Black women and girls.
April 2017
GirlTrek takes the world stage at TED. Co- Founders T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison discuss The trauma of systematic racism is killing Black women. And how GirlTrek mobilizes African-American women and girls to reclaim their health and communities through walking.
2018 - March
March 2018
Harriet’s Great Escape, honors Harriet Tubman with an epic 100-mile trek from the Eastern Shore of Maryland crossing the Mason-Dixon Line into Delaware also known as the Underground Railroad. This 5-day trek culminated on March 10, 2018, Harriet Tubman’s birthday.
April 2018
As a part of TED’s Audacious Project, GirlTrek takes the TED stage a second time to tell the world about The most powerful woman you've never heard of. And how they laid out a blueprint for change-making that has stood the test of time. GirlTrek carries on this legacy.
2019 - June
June 2019
CNN covers GirlTrek’s Road to Selma. Inspired by the “tent revivals” and “teach-ins” of the Civil Rights Era events all across the nation, train activists to pass on the skills needed to serve as a new vanguard of public health activists.
May 2020
GirlTrek launches A multimedia campaign centered on the legendary stories of Black women like Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni. The #DaughtersOf conversation series examined the immediate and critical importance of self-care and healing for Black women through the lens of their matrilineal traditions. In a series of three national broadcasts, GirlTrek led conversations with legends of the civil rights movement and modern-day Black leaders including Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Bernice King, Ilyasah Shabazz, and the presidents of the four Black sororities of the Divine Nine.
2020 - June
June 2020
A one-of-a-kind podcast and 21-day walking meditation to remember where we came from and to gather strength for the road ahead by celebrating one Black woman in history each day and using her story and lessons to help guide us through the uncertain times of 2020. GirlTrek’s 21-day Black History Bootcamp continues to perform in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide.
2020 - November
November 2020
GirlTrek accomplishes the goal of having 1 Million women join the movement.

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