30 September 2023: Links members and friends gather together before walking at their 28th Annual Walk-A-Thon. Credit: Jimmie Aggison/Houston Defender

On Saturday I attended the 28th Annual Walk for Healthy Living Walk-A-Thon at Kitty Hollow Park in Missouri City. The annual walk was hosted by the Houston Area Cluster of the Links Inc. and was organized to bring family and friends together to promote healthy living while sharing positive fellowship.

“Links Incorporated was established in 1946. We are an established African American women’s organization who are dedicated to philanthropy and improving the health outcomes of African American families and communities,” said Dr. Gina Hudnall, Health and Human Services facetchair for Fort Bend County under the leadership of president, Sonya Stevenson.

With over 17,000 professional women of color in 299 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom, Links Inc. has a huge impact.

The 28th Annual Walk for Healthy Living was dedicated to encouraging all individuals of African-American descent to get out and be healthy.

“We also have programs such as our heart health program and a pilot program where we are trying to improve the mortality rate of infinite children and African American women,” said Hudnall.

National Director of National Trends and Services for the Links, Vanessa Carter, was also in attendance representing the national programs team under the leadership of the national President, Ethel Isaacs Williams.

“The Walk for Healthy Living is one of our national signature programs. We’re very concerned about the health disparities among African Americans, particularly African American women. We know that cardiovascular disease is a treacherous disease among women, so this walk allows us to bring awareness to that disparity,” said Carter.

Tracie Kirkland, who serves as chair of Human Health and Services as well as an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, attended the walk.

“As an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, it is important for us, especially as Black women, to be healthy,” said Kirkland, who is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Southern California. “Being healthy helps to mitigate chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and certain types of cancer. It is important to come together as women, to decrease stress, to decrease the allostatic load and to be healthy.”

Lorraine Winslow, president of the Houston Chapter of the Links, was also in attendance.

“I enjoy walking. I tend to walk every Saturday morning and to come out and walk with my sister Links from other chapters. This was a great opportunity for us to support our national initiative as well as have fun with each other,” said Winslow.

I’m originally from Kansas. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in communication studies. Shortly after moving to Houston in 2007, I began doing photography. I covered cy fair sports...