Today might be the last day of National Black History Month, but I hope this series will start conversations that lead to understanding and appreciation. In my opinion, Black History underlies the very fabric of American history; unfortunately, we don’t learn about much beyond slavery, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. I am so grateful for places like the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. and the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma that helps preserve the culture of African Americans; and I hope you’ll be able to visit them.
Without further ado, the final person that I want to highlight for Black History Month is my friend Chris Wall. Normally, I write a brief bio about each individual, but I want you to hear his story with his own words.
“The reason I started Stone Wall Fitness and Athletics stemmed from how much fitness helped me become a better person throughout my lifetime. As a young African American male, raised in a single family home, there were tons of outside influences trying to seduce me into being another statistic. I didn’t want that for my life and I don’t want it for other inner-city children in my community and/or throughout the world. Growing up in Jersey City [New Jersey] wasn’t always easy, but what kept myself sane was the monkey bars and dip bars right outside of my housing community. I would go outside at all different times just to relieve stress, and I realized that working out was enhancing not only my physical [self] but my mental [self] as well. The realization dawned on me as I became a teacher to start a fitness program, to help the youth strengthen their mental abilities as well.” His determination and perseverance with exercising has been able to translate to his life, where “if you can make your mind tell your body that you can do it, then you can overcome any and all obstacles in your life.”
Chris’ story reminds me that you can take something ordinary (like playground equipment) and use it for something extraordinary to change your life and the life of others. What he’s doing with Stone Wall Fitness and Athletics is a movement. With the simple hashtag #sweatcheck, he inspires others to take pride in taking care of their health. Not only is Chris an entrepreneur, but he is also a firefighter in Jersey City and a Sergeant in the Military. He is one of the most caring and passionate people I know, and you should get to know him too. He has a couple of spoken word pieces on his Instagram that you should check out along with informative fitness videos. You can follow him Instagram: @Stonewall_fitness and @Stonewall_fitnessguru
Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you enjoyed this series this month, highlighting African Americans and the incredible things that they are doing in their communities. I think I’ll be doing something similar to this series in the future, either as Soundcloud interviews or on my YouTube channel. Please like, subscribe, share, and comment. If you enjoyed this post and this series, please let me know below and let me know what you want to read in the future.