Thursday, September 18, 2014

ASHOKA | Morgan Dixon and National GirlTrek

Trekking for Health - Morgan Dixon 
At the Ashoka Support Network dinner yesterday, I spoke with Morgan Dixon, the newest of the Ashoka Fellows. She has a compelling story, and a plan for a national GirlTrek event on October 16.

I see a lot of similarities between Morgan and her predecessor activist 100 years ago, Inez Milholland:
  • Morgan is smart. She says she was the first in her class to graduate from college. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California and then went on to get a Master of Education Policy and Leadership at Seton Hall. 
  • Morgan is a street organizer. Inspired by her sister and other members of her family. She says she is also inspired by Ella Baker and Septima Poinsette Clark, both of whom worked on civil rights issues with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.
  • Morgan is a leader. She founded GirlTrek with her sister in Teaneck, N.J., and previously served as director of leadership development for one of the largest charter school networks in the country, Achievement First. Before Achievement First, Morgan directed the development and start-up of six public schools in NYC for St. Hope and the Urban Assembly, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 
  • Morgan is a communicator. She began her career with Teach For America as a high school history teacher in Atlanta, GA, and later as a school administrator in Newark, NJ. Morgan was awarded Teach For America's 2012 Social Innovation Award.  
  • She is a popular speaker. She was recognized by the Awesome Foundation as a leader to watch. She recently addressed students at Yale and Princeton and opened the 2012 summit for the National Outdoor Leadership School.
She told me that she started GirlTrek two years ago because she was heartbroken that so many black women die of preventable diseases. She says that four out of five African American women are overweight and half of them are obese. Yet 70 percent of them are the breadwinners in the family. (I haven't checked any of these numbers, but they sound right.)

Morgan is trying to draw attention to the need for a change in diet and need for exercise through walks for black women's health. GirlTrek supports African American women and girls' living healthier lives by walking.

 GirlTrek, based in Washington, D.C. supports more than 15,000 walkers and is operated with the help of 300 volunteers and 145,000 supporters. GirlTrek aims to mobilize one million supporters to lead a "walking revolution for better health" in high-need communities across America. GirlTrek's health movement relies on telling stories, providing active role models, organizing in the street, partnering with other organizations and just making the case to the media.

Morgan will keep them all moving by example and exhortation.


Morgan exemplifies the front edge of the woman's movement that dates itself back to the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, and got itself renewed energy in the 1913 march sponsored by the National Woman's Party in Washington, which Inez Milholland led on horseback.

I was at the centennial march last year and have already commented that it was composed 95 percent of Deltas,  from all over the country. The Delta Sigma Theta sorority had just been founded at Howard University in 1913 is the activist sorority that Inez championed to be part of the Washington march.

No comments:

Post a Comment