During a recent interview with Black Enterprise, The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter discussed his GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), an organization creating solutions to health challenges faced by women and girls.
The idea for GCF was sparked by Trotter’s friend, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, who is co-founder of the organization and a current Sociology professor at John Jay College. Her work in women’s health inspired Trotter to join in the effort and give back to the community. Without community based programs such as this, “I would not be here today,” Trotter stated.
“I was moved by her vision especially since the communities that she was talking about were communities that I had lived in, communities where I still had family. But I must say what really made me say yes was the fact that she kept talking about girls; and I have a daughter now; and the week before, my wife Michelle and I were just talking about how important it was for us to give back.”
On October 6, a charity concert for the organization took place in Newark, New Jersey where three of their programs include H.E.A.L. (Health, Education, and Literacy), S.H.A.P.E. (Strong, Healthy, and Powerful Everyday) and Super Camp. Trotter says that they are targeting the ten cities in the U.S. where women and girls experience the highest incidences of obesity, breast cancer, suicide and HIV/AIDS.
When asked how he felt about the current healthcare system, Trotter said that he feels more health programs are needed and that GCF is developing affordable means for people go gain access to health services. While the foundation focused mainly on girls and families last year, they plan to expand to include the community as a whole and will begin a full year of health programming at the Early Middle College at Bennett College this fall as Greensboro, NC is one of the ten cities they are targeting.
“I urge folks to join us in this effort to create a world where all girls can grow up to be healthy women,” Trotter said. “Given how much we depend on women to hold our communities together it is the very least we can do.”
BMWK– Are there any organizations like this in your area? Why do you feel it’s so important to focus on women’s health?