Portland Mayor Tom Potter and Oregon State Sen. Avel Gordly, I-Portland, will lead the African American Health Coalition's Fourth Annual Wellness Within REACH Walk, Saturday, Aug. 19, at Dawson Park in North Portland.
Hundreds of Portlanders are expected to walk in celebration of the community's health and in support of the coalition's free physical activity classes program, which serves more than 1,500 Portland-area African Americans each year.
Event-day activities begin at 8 a.m. in Dawson Park, corner of North Vancouver Avenue and Stanton Street, with music, refreshments and children's activities. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. along a 1.5- or 4-mile route through North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods.
Walk registration is $20. Pre-registration is encouraged at the coalition's Web site, www.aahc-portland.org/events .htm, or by contacting the office, 2800 N. Vancouver Ave, Suite 100.
"We want to make physical activity a cultural norm in our community," said Corliss McKeever, president of the African American Health Coalition. "Portland State University's Regional Research Institute has documented that more than 1,500 African Americans participate in our free physical activity classes, and I'm proud that we can offer a service that is truly needed and embraced by the community.
"Our goal is to make Portland the healthiest African American community in the nation," McKeever added.
Potter said he was "proud" to participate in the walk.
"The African American Health Coalition promotes wellness within the community, raises awareness and ultimately allows people to live healthy, fuller lives," Potter said.
The coalition's free physical activity classes are a product of the agency's federally funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH 2010) program. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for all Americans, and African Americans die at a disproportionately higher rate from heart disease than other groups.
The coalition's REACH program seeks to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease among African Americans in the Portland area through health education and increased physical activity. REACH is part of the federal Healthy People 2010 objective to eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities by the year 2010.