COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Thousands of people gathered at Livingston Park for Saturday’s 19th Annual African American Male Wellness Walk in Columbus.

NBC4 is a proud sponsor of this community event. The African American Male Wellness Agency (AAMWA) aims to raise awareness and address disparities facing the Black male community.

AAMWA Walk Coordinator Marlon Platt explained they do this by offering health screenings and partnering with community sponsors to provide tools and education needed to close the gap.

“When people go to the doctor, they get these health screenings, they know their numbers,” said Platt. “And then from there, they can make adjustments in their lifestyles to make sure that they’re living their healthiest life possible.”

Sponsors like The Academy for Urban Scholars said health and its benefits go beyond a long-lasting life, especially for students.

“In order for them to educate themselves and learn well they have be able to be healthy,” said Principal Derek Lee. “Not just mentally, but emotionally, financially, physically and they learn all the information here.”

The entire event and walk were free to the community with the hopes of removing barriers some face when trying to access preventative care.

“We want to remove any kind of barrier that can prevent anyone from coming and we know that cost is often what keeps someone from going to the services they need,” said Platt. “And so we want to make sure that everything is free and everyone has access to quality health care”

The 5K walk started at 9:30 a.m., but health screenings began more than two hours before at 7:00 a.m.

Platt said their goal was to screen 2,000 or more people.