Hike 4 The Culture Event seeks to support wellness and healing

Alicia Brown created Hike 4 The Culture as a way to bring together the Black
community, with a focus on mental health and wellness. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALICIA BROWN.
Alicia Brown created Hike 4 The Culture as a way to bring together the Black community, with a focus on mental health and wellness. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALICIA BROWN.

 Hike 4 The Culture Event seeks to support wellness and healing
By Tia Carol Jones
 
Alicia Brown wanted to host an event that would focus on health and wellness for the Black community. She thought about hosting Hike 4 the Culture last year, but the pandemic was still bringing uncertainty in the planning of events with lots of people.
 
The idea of hiking, being with nature and connecting with other people was something she needed, as she was going through depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown realized a lot of her peers were going through something similar with COVID-19, social injustice and life.
 
Hike 4 The Culture will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Juneteenth at Swallow Cliff Woods, located at Calumet Sag Road/Route 83, west of La Grange Road/96th Ave. The event will include yoga, along with the hiking, music and a special appearance by Val Warner. Naimah Cyprian, of Urban Grind Gym; Bernard Brown, Hiking Assistant for The Urban Key Events Group; and Paris Taylor, of Power92 Chicago, also will be at the event.
 
Brown decided Juneteenth would be a perfect day for the event because she wanted it to be a tradition for Black people to come together, as a community, for something positive, for empowerment and betterment of the whole. It also is Father’s Day, so she wanted to celebrate and recognize men who are fathers and serve as father figures.
 
The event is sold out. Brown knew people needed an event that focused on wellness and mental health based on conversations she was having with people. But, she didn’t have any expectations for the event. She knew it was something she wanted to do. Once people started to register, she was grateful people recognized the intention behind what she was trying to do, and they needed the event just as much as she did.
 
Brown is not a hiker.  She was looking for things that would push her out of her comfort zone. She acknowledged that traditionally, you don’t about a lot of Black people hiking.  But, they do. She had a conversation with her mother, who lives in Arizona, about mental health and things people could do that would help with mental health and stress.
 
Brown wanted an event that would be safe for people to attend, because the pandemic is still happening. Before she put out a flyer about the event, Brown started to hint that she might host Hike 4 The Culture. People responded to those positively, when they heard the story of why she wanted to have the event. Even when people heard the event was sold out, they reached out to ask if they could still be a part of it because the premise of the event was so positive.
 
“I really feel strongly that it’s because of that connection to the mental health and just wanting to improve their physical wellness,” Brown said. “I think it says we need to do health and wellness events more often and we need to continue to get people excited about exploring ways to better themselves that isn’t so pushy.”
Brown believes that while people should go to therapy, the approach to advise should come from people that those people relate to. The intent is for people to have a moment, out in the woods, and share it with the community.
 
Brown is building a community of people who want to hike regularly. It is her hope that they will feel safe and it will open up new avenues for mental and physical health.
 
For more information about Hike 4 The Culture, visit https://hike4thculture.com.
 

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