This week, I had the pleasure of joining First Lady Michelle Obama as she launched the newest effort within the Let’s Move! initiative, Let’s Move Faith and Communities. Let’s Move! is the First Lady’s initiative to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation. We launched this special effort in a conference call with over 4,500 people, including faith-based and community leaders representing more than 50 organizations that have already committed to Let’s Move Faith and Communities. At the launch, the First Lady emphasized the critical role that faith-based and neighborhood leaders play in ending childhood obesity in their communities. The First Lady pointed out that these groups know “how to empower folks…how to inspire them to take charge of their lives and make positive changes for themselves and their families.” She also recognized that many faith and community organizations have been leading the way, whether through innovative health ministries or summer nutrition programs.
Let’s Move Faith and Communities is designed to support local efforts and highlight accomplishments in communities across the country. We want to work with community leaders, learn from what you’re doing in neighborhoods and help us all learn from each other through this effort.
Toward that end, we have created the Let’s Move Toolkit for Faith-based and Neighborhood Organizations. It provides creative ideas and helpful tips for congregations and communities that want to promote healthy eating and fitness, and respond to hunger.
The Toolkit also provides practical steps and resources for groups that want to take up the four challenges that I shared on today’s call. Over the next year, we invite you to consider joining Let’s Move Faith and Communities as we challenge ourselves to:
Bishop Angel Nuñez, Senior Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Denise Hunter, First Lady of First AME Church of Los Angeles and President of FAME, the First AME of Los Angeles Assistance Corporation
Dr. Walter Parrish III, General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention
Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital
Angel Gutierrez, VP Community Development and Outreach, the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago; also representing Catholic Charities USA
Patricia Cipora Harte, “Cippi”, Vice President, Program Services, Jewish Community Center Association of North America
Elder Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference, Seventh Day Adventist Church
Doug Swanson, National Coordinator, Professional and Volunteer Development, 4-H National Headquarters
Rabia Akram, President, American Muslim Health Professionals
Barbara Baylor, Minister for Health Care Justice, United Church of Christ
These commitments only represent a sample of the work of organizations and leaders joining Let’s Move Faith and Communities, but it already represents more than 2.5 million miles walked!
Join us! If you and your community partners decide to step up to any of these challenges, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to let us know about your goals and ideas for putting Let’s Move! into action. Together, through Let’s Move Faith and Communities, we can move our nation closer to ending childhood obesity within a generation.
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.