Black Health Movement to Host Second Saturday Fitness Fest Events

The monthly workout programs, kicking off June 12 in downtown Detroit, aim to tackle racial health disparities in the local Black community
black health movement - Second Saturday Fitness Fest
Above, locals participate in an event organized by Patti Duke in downtown Detroit. Duke organized the upcoming Saturday Fitness Fest series — which kicks off on June 12 in the city — with Black Health Movement Foundation co-founders and event hosts Eugene Thomas and Lemuel Joiner. // Photograph courtesy of PattiDukes

Detroit-based nonprofit Black Health Movement Foundation is kicking off its Second Saturday Fitness Fest on June 12. The organization aims to tackle racial health disparities in diabetes, obesity, and hypertension in the Black community by offering group fitness events with local fitness instructors throughout the summer.

June’s Second Saturday Fitness Fest will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Attendees will participate in six, 10-minute low-intensity fitness stations. The first three stations will take place at Cadillac Square Park and be led by Chris Huff, owner and founder of Performance 80 Fitness in Oak Park; fitness veteran Tara Way; and ballroom and hustle instructor Steven Sturkey. Next, attendees will head to Vibe Ride for an outdoor cycling station, followed by a total body workout station at the Boll Family YMCA. Attendees will then cool down with a yoga session at Grand Circus Park led by Adrienne Bulger, yoga instructor and owner of Pose LLC.

Second Saturday Fitness Fest will also take place July 10 and Aug. 14. Both events will start at 9 a.m. in Cadillac Square and will offer different fitness stations.

Eugene Thomas worked in the medical sales industry for 25 years and co-founded Black Health Movement in 2020. His desire to both encourage lifestyle changes in his community and his own commitment to improving his health and sharing his experience with others after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year encouraged him to launch the nonprofit.

“What really contributed to me starting Black Health Movement was that in my 25 years of experience, there was always a common theme for all the conditions that were treated,” Thomas says, “and that was that African Americans were disproportionately affected by a number of conditions, but many of them could be traced back to simple decisions around lifestyle changes, particularly around diet and exercise.” Statistically, Black individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, have higher heart rates, and have hypertension than white individuals.

Thomas and fellow co-founder Lemuel Joiner organized Second Saturday Fitness Fest with local entrepreneur Patti Duke, who has organized fitness events in Detroit. Black Health Movement began offering other community events and fitness support groups this year, including Real Men Walk, Phenomenal Woman’s FitFam, and Great Detroit Bike Club. So far, the nonprofit has received endorsements from DMC Sinai Grace Hospital, nonprofit Detroit Medical Society, and the Nursing Detroit organization.

Locals can register for the Second Saturday Fitness Fest online. The event is free and open to adults age 18 and up. Capacity is limited to 300 people, and masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged.  Thomas says signing up ahead of the event is highly recommended, but individuals will not be turned away if capacity hasn’t been reached. He also encourages everyone to like Black Health Movement’s Facebook page for updates and more.

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