CROSBY: Aurora woman taking on weighty issue
By Denise Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org August 18, 2013 5:34PM
Angelia Hall of Aurora, local spearheader of GirlTrek. | Submitted
Updated: September 20, 2013 6:12AM
Angelia Hall has seen plenty of examples of the problem herself, even in her own family.
Black women, for a host of reasons, don’t always take care of themselves.
That’s why, as alarming as the statistics were, it came as no surprise to the Aurora woman when the Centers for Disease Control put African-American females at the highest risk of dying from preventable causes such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.
The reason? Because 80 percent — four out of five black females — are overweight.
It was around that time Hall heard about a two-year-old national grass-roots group called GirlTrek that is trying to address this issue through a national walking campaign. The organization was looking for dynamic women to start local movements. So Hall applied and was chosen as one of its leaders. Her assignment: Help get Aurora moving.
The national goal is to sign up 1 million black females by 2015 to commit to walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. GirlTrek, Hall said, also plans to accomplish that through a powerful social media network, leadership programs, training retreats and outdoor fitness excursions in partnership with the National Park Service.
The focus is on walking because it is the cheapest and easiest way to make the most dramatic changes in your life. The group also takes inspiration from black women in history — freedom seekers, bus boycotters — who walked for change.
Hall herself is a mover in every sense of the word. She’s the manager of the shipping department for a financial printing company in Broadview, is married and the mother of a recent Metea Valley graduate heading to Western Illinois University.
But as busy as she is, she’s committed to leading the GirlTrek movement in Aurora. Last week, she met with city officials, who have begun connecting her with the right groups to help grow this campaign locally.
Dan Barreiro, the city’s chief community services officer, applauds her efforts, adding that what she and GirlTrek are trying to accomplish fits in perfectly with the city’s and county’s own “Fit for Kids” initiative to fight childhood obesity and promote wellness among all residents.
“She’s inspiring,” he said of Hall after their initial meeting. “And her excitement is contagious.”
Obesity, as we all know, is a growing problem among all demographics, and Hall isn’t about to exclude anyone who wants to join this effort.
But African-American females, who are at most risk, were not being targeted like other demographics, she says. And GirlTrek wants to change that.
For more information, go to www.girltrek.org or call Hall at 630-892-1908. A group already is meeting at 5 p.m. every Sunday at the Eola Community Center to walk together. And Hall promises plenty of other fun ways to get fit, including an upcoming trip to the Indiana Dunes.
Hall is ready to walk the walk. And she hopes Aurora is, too.