This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.
Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks
Why They Are Game Changers: Four out of five Black women are overweight or obese. Hicks and Carey are out to change that. They launched Black Girls Run! (BGR!) as a blog to document their own experiences, but it turned into something that is now inspiring thousands of other women across the country to get out, exercise, and pursue better health. Carey told Black Enterprise:
One of the things that sparked this whole conversation was when I first started running, I called my mom and said, ‘Hey, I want to start running. I got these shoes, they are dope,’ and she says, ‘Black girls don’t run.’ Just like that. ‘It’s something White people do.’ ‘Really, Mom? That’s racist,’ was my response. She would say things like ‘your uterus is going to fall out,’ which is a myth, and that was why women couldn’t run marathons until the ’60s. That all led to the creation of Black Girls Run!
What started out as a way to dispel the myths about hair and other impediments to getting Black women moving has turned into a movement.
There are more than 67 Black Girls Run! groups around the country, and the women have thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.
One of the group’s mantras is “Preserve the Sexy.”
“We’re really changing how people see beauty, how we see health and fitness and all of these things — beauty from the inside out,” said Hicks.
And the effect that the group is having on women across the country is amazing.
“The majority of Black women will take care of their kids, other people’s kids, and family members,” said Janelle Alexander, BGR! Atlanta member told ESPN. “We are the last ones to be taken care of. BGR! allows me to take care of myself.”