Together, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha in 2009 co-founded Black Girls RUN! a grassroots organization which was borne out of their frustration of not seeing many black women in the running groups they joined. This, in addition to hearing negative reactions from within their own communities about running for fun, to tackle the obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to women runners.
These go-getters saw the gap and are currently bridging it by advocating for the health of Black women. They created a blog and there, they chronicle their peculiar experiences as female runners thereby correcting preconceived notions and myths about black girls and their lack of involvement in sports especially running. Hence, the name Black Girls Run.
Black Girls Run dispels the myths that Africans are perfectly fine with being “thick” and “big-boned” or having salon-fresh hair is more important than exercising and that black women don’t run for recreational purposes.
Today, the initiative has morphed into a 100% grassroots movement centered around bringing women together both virtually and on-foot through running – to members across the USA. The organization gives black women across the nation a ready-made running community, and encourages African-American women to make fitness a priority and become a more health conscious society.
Over the years this movement has grown to accommodate hundreds of thousands of women including women from the white community and goes beyond to preach Self-care and self-love and recently on the 12th of April 2018, Toni and Ashley announced “Jay Ell Alexander” as the new CEO and Owner, of the Black Girls RUN! community.