In an atmosphere filled with gospel music and the sounds of children playing in the sun, Roswell Parks and Recreation sponsored the first annual Black History Month Health Walk at Cielo Grande Recreation Park, Saturday.
Although the event was targeted at African-Americans, walkers represented various ethnic backgrounds of the Roswell community.
â€œThe walk itself is open to everybody, because there is an obesity problem across the nation, thereâ€™s a diabetes problem across the nation, so this walk is open to everybody,â€ Alice Wagoner, walk organizer, said.
However, Wagoner seeks to raise awareness among the minority group most affected by diabetes and obesity.
â€œThe health issues [among blacks] are very critical I think,â€ Wagoner said. â€œThe numbers cited by the Centers for Disease Control for [black] obesity, hypertension â€” theyâ€™re higher than the other ethnic groups. I thought it was a good idea to have this during Black History Month, so that black people can start addressing it.â€
More than a few dozen participants jogged, ran or walked a route set by Steve Wagoner, who issued walkers safety tips and strategies for completing a successful walk prior to its start. Festivities began with an invocation by the Rev. Artist Allen, pastor at Mount Gilead Baptist Church of Roswell, and was followed by an African call to focus chant by Queen Shelton.
â€œI want people to become aware of the health issues,â€ Wagoner said. â€œThey are critical. The numbers are not good. I want people to become motivated. This one walk will not do it. It has to be something in their mind to say â€˜Iâ€™m going to take the steps.â€™ This can be a motivator to where they can say â€˜I will take other steps.â€™â€
Other community leaders on hand included the Rev. Michael Shelton, of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Dr. Richard Gorham, of Ware Tabernacle Baptist Church.