A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, founders of the health nonprofit GirlTrek, are on a mission to reduce the leading causes of preventable death among Black women — and build communities in the process. How? By getting one million women and girls to prioritize their self-care, lacing up their shoes and walking in the direction of their healthiest, most fulfilled lives.
Running time: 15 minutes
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About the Speakers:
T. Morgan Dixon coleads GirlTrek, the largest public health nonprofit for African American women and girls in the United States. GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families and communities. The organization knits local advocacy together to lead a civil rights-inspired health movement to eliminate barriers to physical activity, improve access to safe places, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the United States.
Prior to GirlTrek, Dixon was on the front lines of education reform. She served as director of leadership development for one of the largest charter school networks in the country, Achievement First, and directed the startup of six public schools in New York City for St. Hope and the Urban Assembly, two organizations funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has served as a trustee for boards of The National Outdoor Leadership School, Teach for Haiti and The Underground Railroad Historic Byway, a $50 million tourism and preservation project in Maryland.
As the leader of GirlTrek, Dixon has received fellowships from Teach for America (2012), Echoing Green (2013), Ashoka (2014) and The Aspen Institute (2015). She has been featured in the New York Times and CNN. She was named a “health hero” by Essence Magazine and appeared on the cover of Outside Magazine’s “Icons” edition.
Vanessa Garrison is the cofounder and COO of GirlTrek, the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. With more than 100,000 neighborhood walkers, GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families and communities.
Prior to cofounding GirlTrek, Garrison worked within the criminal justice space, helping formerly incarcerated women access critical services. She began her career working in digital media with Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, where she managed digital media projects for some the world’s most recognizable news and entertainment brands, including, CNN, TNT and Sports Illustrated.
With GirlTrek, Garrison has been featured in the Washington Post and the New York Times, and she was named a “Health Hero” by Essence Magazine. She has received social innovations fellowships from Teach For America, Echoing Green and the Aspen Institute.