NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) – A Saturday morning on the golf course is helping promote a healthier community. During the African American Male Wellness Agency’s tenth annual golf outing, some said the organization’s work comes during a critical time.
“This time, more than ever in history, is a time to support organizations like this,” said Keith Stevens, the honorary chairman of the 2020 golf outing.
The 2020 tournament at the New Albany Links Golf Club attracted close to 150 golfers and raised almost $50,000 for the organization. Some attributed the record support to restlessness and limited contact many are experiencing during the health crisis.
“People are tired of sitting around the house and they’re ready to get out and get moving,” said tournament director Perry Gregory.
Gregory explained the outing enforced strict safety protocols, with masks required at all times, extra hand sanitizer available and a limited number of golfers allowed at each tee. Even with more restrictions, the organization was still able to provide blood pressure checks and health screenings.
“The mission of the African American Male Wellness initiative is to increase health awareness in black men — for them to know their numbers and go to the doctor and become more aware of their health,” Gregory said.
According to the African American Male Wellness Agency, black men are up to 10 times more likely than others to die from the top five preventable diseases. Declarations of racism as public health crises in Columbus, Franklin County and elsewhere, as well as higher COVID-19 infection rates in black men are highlighting the disparities the organization has been working to bridge.
“The organization is doing great work and has been doing great work long before COVID-19. We need an organization like this now more than ever,” Stevens said.
Some saw participating in the golf outing and supporting the organization as a simple way to further the fight against racial injustice gaining steam nationwide.
“Now is our time. Now is the time to create action, now is the time to create change. And this is one of the initiatives that we can basically have a foundation to start that change in the world,” Golfer Chip Brown said.
The golf outing leads up to the group’s largest annual event: the African American Male Wellness Walk on August 8th. This year, the 5K walk and run will be held virtually with participants encouraged to walk or run in their own neighborhoods. Learn more here.