On Feb. 20, the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) kicked off a day of wellness with aÂ Town Hall on Girls’ HealthÂ in conjunction with its all-star, annualÂ Let’s Move It: Jersey!Â hip-hop fundraiser in Newark, New Jersey. The health and wellness forum was a family-friendly morning of community engagement and open dialogue. This event brought together music, policy, and youth for a common purpose.
Approximately 100 girls attended the “Town Hall on Girls Health 2016” with their parents/caretakers also in attendance, including students from Speedway Academies, youth from Newark and surrounding areas, community members, school staff (including Principal Atiba Buckman), mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and more.
Lisa Charles of Embrace Your Fitness led the entire audience (including children as young as 4) in fitness break routines with high-energy music and moves.
Girls and young women talked about health and wellness and what it meant to be true to themselves, while adult experts spoke about what challenges exist and how we can collectively overcome them as a community.
Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, GrassROOTS Community Foundation’s co-founder and president, led the day’s events. In addition, 1,000 books featuring black girls as the main character were donated to Speedway Academies.
Superstar lyricist Black Thought of The Roots and co-founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, wowed the crowd; and hip-hop legend Rah Digga dropped rhymes, along with heavy hitters Rapsody and Sa-Roc. International producers and DJ’s 9th Wonder and Rich Medina were also in the house to lend their support and spin records.
Cedric the Entertainer, performing next door at the Prudential Center, made a surprise appearance, chatting it up–and cracking up–everyone in attendance.
The proceeds fromÂ Let’s Move It: Jersey!Â will go toward building an after-school program for girls at the school and increasing the capacity of youth and adults in the West Ward of Newark.