Director’s Outlook: Seizing the Call to Action on Walking

Last week, the Surgeon General issued a powerful call to action urging all Americans to champion walking and walkable communities. By now hopefully you have heard this and are already putting efforts in place to align your school, nonprofit organization, or business with this game-changing ask.  I was gratified to be present in Washington, DC when Dr. Murthy made the announcement, and at the Safe Routes Partnership we are moving forward without hesitation.  

Meeting Surgeon General

From left: Senior Fellow Ayanna Johnson and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy meet with Safe Routes Partnership Director Cass Isidro and Safe Routes Partnership Street Scale Campaigner Manager Keith Benjamin following the historic call to action on walking.

On a personal level, I have been giving quite a bit of thought to what walking means in my life and what a difference living in a walkable community has on my health and the start my kids are having in this world.

Friends and colleagues who know me are familiar with my inability to sit still in meetings and for any longer period of time.  Walking allows me to expend energy and focus—it has always been a tried and true way for me to clear my head and find answers to questions at work and in life. Those of us who choose the walking path do not need the research to prove anything. Although the evidence is there, we know that walking supports physical and emotional health. 

As I have been reflecting upon what walking means to me and how my husband and I have instilled the value of physical activity and health in our kids, I cannot help but feel immense gratitude for the benefits we also have allowing us to enjoy and value walking.  At any time, on any given day, I can go for a walk with my family in my neighborhood and feel safe.  I can breathe the air that is around me without concern , even living close to a large city.  I am able to have sidewalks define my path without fear of gun violence or harassment.