The stereotype is that African American men don’t like going to the doctor. So, in order to help fix that way of thinking, John Gregory started the National African-American Male Wellness Walk 12 years ago, in Ohio. They surveyed 100 men in a research and the results came back showing 90 percent were sick and didn’t even know it.
The walk was held at Joe Brown Park, here in Louisiana for the very first time. “They felt that there was a need here, especially with different diseases surfacing around the Gulf”, says Joseph K. Byrd, who was a vice chairman of the event.
Numerous companies were involved such as: New Orleans East Hospital, State Farm, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, and many representatives from local clinics with information of ways to stay healthy. “We committed to help empower men and portray a positive way of live, so when we heard about this event we immediately wanted to get involved”, said Ronald Harris, a member of the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, he continued saying “Men should go to the doctor, but some are just scared.”
Even though the target of the walk is for men to become well informed about staying healthy, it was family friendly. James M. Singleton Charter School band performed and kids had a play area. Xavier Ray, State Farm representative, said “I heard about this event from my boss and I really wanted to come see what this was about, the crowd is amazingly friendly and just out here to have a good time.”
There were many volunteers to help work the event to make sure it flowed. Some handed out water for the runners and walkers, some helped guide men and family to the gym where they were holding the free health screenings, and others helped with the bike hike. Ethan Ashley, volunteer service coordinator, was excited to have such a number of those that wanted to help. “We had so many volunteers, that some just sort of had to hang out because we had help already, what really made me glad was the young men that signed up.”
Even though this was a first time the walk was held in the Big Easy the crowd enjoyed themselves and it was a success.