What began as daily 30 minute walks in 2020, evolved into a holistic approach to address the health, well-being and safety of Black Women in Des Moines. Black Women 4 Healthy Living not only saw a need in the Des Moines community to talk about Black Women’s health but also a need to have a resting space and a place where Black women are seen and affirmed.
“Living well is not just about being in good health, eating well and being physically fit. It is also about feeling safe, having access to proper health care, living in a just society and having the ability to improve your situation,” said co- founder Brandi Miller.
In the three years the group has been incorporated as a nonprofit, they’ve led a number of projects highlighting the need for preventative health care. The group will host a blood drive for those with sickle cell disease, an inherited red cell blood disorder disproportionately affecting the Black community, from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Corinthian Baptist Church.
Miller and co-founder Jamie Sinnah-Yovonie, along with a talented board of Black women from the community, have set out to create spaces for Black women to prioritize their physical, mental and spiritual health.
Miller says: “We’re really good about uplifting and caring for others. How often do you check in on your health? Your spirit?”
The organization was recognized by the Des Moines Chapter of the NAACP as the 2022 Nonprofit of the Year.
From group walks, sister huddles and weekly health topic chats, visit the website to tap into the group’s Black Women’s Health Coalition.
The group’s Juneteenth Tea, in its third year, is a free event during the Iowa Juneteenth Observance in Des Moines, where attendees sit down to tea and enjoy spoken word, singing and a featured speaker from the community who speaks to the unique experience of navigating health care in Des Moines as a Black woman. The past two years featured speakers Breanne Ward, a Des Moines-based mental health counselor and award-winning social worker, Debra Carr.