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New Mexico State University's Black Programs will host a two-mile walk Thursday, Oct. 22, as part of a national initiative for African-American women and girls that promotes healthy living, families and communities through walking.

The Girl Trek Health Walk at NMSU is open to all campus community members and will kick off at 5 p.m., starting from the Garcia Center parking lot. It will feature appearances and remarks from NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu and KFOX 14 News and CBS 4 Local reporter Jala Washington.

“This is a milestone for New Mexico,” said Kimberly York, interim director of Black Programs. “This is the first time a Girl Trek walking campaign will take place in New Mexico.”

Girl Trek is the largest public health nonprofit for African American women and girls in the United States, leading a health movement grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership and health advocacy, according to its website.

The walk also is the first campus-wide event organized under the banner of NMSU’s new Success Through Sisterhood initiative, which Black Programs launched in September.

“The whole premise behind Success Through Sisterhood is to build a sense of community among emerging young professionals,” York said. “With African Americans representing less than two percent of the population in Las Cruces, it’s extremely important that young ladies have an opportunity to gain access to professional mentors who look like them and are also in underrepresented fields, such as STEM.”

Success Through Sisterhood includes a multilayer mentoring component that connects faculty and staff with students interested in their respective fields, York said. Students mentored through the initiative have also pledged to mentor middle- and high-schoolers throughout Las Cruces.

Students involved in Success Through Sisterhood are also organizing upcoming workshops on wellness, financial aid, financial literacy and other topics, and starting a book club.

“This is about creating a sense of sisterhood where students of color can come and feel welcomed and feel embraced and feel empowered to share their stories, their challenges, and things that they typically would not talk about,” York said.
Success Through Sisterhood also seeks to engage students in positive health initiatives, York said. That’s why she and her students opted to join the Girl Trek movement and host a walk at NMSU.

Arvizu will help kick off the walk, which will loop throughout campus, and Washington will serve as the keynote speaker. The event will conclude by 7 p.m.

“As we walk, we’ll share stories, improve our health and strengthen sisterhood,” York said. “We want groups of students, faculty and staff to create new bonds while walking and talking.”

Participants must preregister for the walk at https://blackprograms.nmsu.edu. The first 50 people to register will receive a free T-shirt. Participants also must wear face masks throughout the walk and follow social distancing guidelines.

“This is just our kickoff event,” York said. “Black Programs and Success Through Sisterhood will continue hosting wellness walks once a week around campus, and we encourage all campus community members to join us and build a sense of unity.”

For more information, contact Black Programs at 575-646-4208 or blackpro@nmsu.edu.  

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