Merrell Celebrates Black History Month

During the month of February, we have the honor of learning from some incredible Black and African American change makers whose excellent work and organizations are supporting Black communities in breaking down barriers to make sure that all people can take advantage of what the outdoors has to offer.

jewel bush
Chief of External Affairs, GirlTrek

“We are proponents of radical self care – you cannot take care of anyone if you are not happy, healthy, and well. This looks different for everyone, and we celebrate and support whatever women need to take radical care of themselves.

My first experience with GirlTrek was an intergenerational moment celebrating the 50th anniversary of Selma – at the time I wasn’t that interested in “walking” but GirlTrek connected our history with the present day and I had never experienced anything like it. It’s been all GirlTrek for me since then.”

Meet: jewel bush, Chief of External Affairs, GirlTrek

jewel bush is an award-winning journalist. She has won numerous awards including distinctions from the Louisiana Press Association, The New York Times Regional Media Group and American Association of Sunday and Features Editors.

As a communications strategist, bush has a diverse background in advocacy and organizing (grassroots, labor, political, cultural). She has worked with some of the largest public health organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Planned Parenthood as well as SEIU, Service Employees International Union before she came to GirlTrek, the largest health and self-care movement for Black women and girls in the country.

Mirna and jewel discuss how black women, even those that seem to be thriving, continue to fight health concerns and the importance of radical self care to balance their responsibilities. They discuss the mission of GirlTrek to get black women outside and walking, how they achieved their 1M walker goals and their global expansion.

Find out more about GirlTrek and follow them on Instagram.

Meet Merrell Ambassador Mirna Valerio

Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator and cross-country coach, ultramarathoner, author of the Amazon bestselling memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress, and antiracism educator. Although she began running in high school, she recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008 and started her blog Fatgirlrunning—about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes— while training for her first marathon. Mirna’s athletic story has been featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner’s World Magazine. In 2018 she was chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and most recently appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Access Daily, and on Nigel Barker’s new V1Ve Network. When she wears her diversity, equity, and inclusion hat, she helps schools, nonprofits, and businesses to step up their antiracism efforts. She currently lives, trains, and works in Vermont, USA.

Each week , Mirna will be hosting virtual conversations to dig deeper into how people are driving change, connecting to the outdoors, and educating us on what we can do to support and get involved.

Follow Mirna’s adventures on Instagram.