With an early summer heat already enveloping Thornden Park, exuberant participants in the annual Winston Gaskin Community Walk for Wellness prepared to begin the honorary walk through one of Syracuse’s most picturesque parks.
The focus of this year’s walk, organized by 100 Black Men of Syracuse, is to highlight the issue of childhood obesity and to draw attention to the use of positive role models to reduce and prevent the occurrence of this prevalent health concern.
Event coordinator, Charles Anderson, serves as the health and wellness committee chair for 100 Black Men. Anderson, a 72-year-old cancer survivor, acts as a positive model in the community in the promotion of a fit and healthy lifestyle.
As a role model to youth, Anderson stated “What they see is what they will be,” as a mantra for community leadership adopted by 100 Black Men of Syracuse.
As part of the Juneteenth Festival celebrating the role and contributions of African-Americans to our society, the walk honors Winston Gaskin, Syracuse’s first African-American pharmacist and his contributions to the community of Syracuse.
Walk participants were offered the option of completing a course that ranged from one to three miles winding their way through Thornden Park. The event drew participants representing the community from young to old.
Amongst the participants was former U.S. Representative for the 25th Congressional District Dan Maffei.
In preparation for the walk, Anderson and 100 Black Men of Syracuse, in conjunction with Pulse Fitness Studio, invited potential participants to engage in Zumba classes in an effort to jump start the fitness goals embodied by the Winston Gaskin Community Walk for Wellness.
In its third year, the Winston Gaskin Community Walk for Wellness brought together a cross section of community members whose participation will undoubtedly facilitate the health and wellness goals of 100 Black Men. Through their admirable efforts and leadership through positive example, the city of Syracuse as a whole may become a healthier community in mind and body.
— Story and photos by Jeremiah Howell