Open Streets West Broadway is a free event that serves to bring together community groups and local businesses. 

This year’s street festival expanded along West Broadway Avenue from Penn to Lyndale Avenues. The event was presented by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. However, it was hosted locally by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

Open Streets gives Minneapolis residents and visitors a chance to learn about the opportunities and services offered by the businesses in their community in a safe and fun environment. Open Streets’ mission is to encourage people to use active modes of transportation, engage in healthy living, and rethink our streets as public space. I was impressed to see how many businesses came out to educate community members on health and wellness because, unfortunately, active living has not always been a topic that is largely emphasized in the Black community.

The streets were filled with laughter and positivity as children double-dutched and jumped around in a bounce house. NorthPoint Health & Wellness also hosted a children’s race to spread awareness for the importance of an active lifestyle. Some other important and very informative businesses gave out information essential for suicide prevention as well as the safe way to go about family planning.

It is important to know that health and wellness is not just about going to the gym or eating your greens. Health and wellness also includes building positive and supportive relationships, monitoring stress levels, getting regular health screenings, self-education and making good financial decisions.

Making small changes for growth every day can help improve mental health as well. How you think and feel inside affects your mood and how you look on the outside. Similarly, how you care for yourself on the outside and the world around you can affect how you feel and think about yourself on the inside.

For some unknown reason, we are only beginning the conversation about how important it is for us to care for ourselves. With Black people having such high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, I am here to say that self-care is not selfish or dramatic. Taking control of your health and making changes necessary for your wellness are the ultimate way to show self-love.

Simple decisions like going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early, turning off the television and going outside for some vitamin D, and choosing water over soda or juice are a few small changes that can make a great impact on your health. Choosing health and wellness is a lifestyle decision that can potentially add years onto your life. Get tested, get active and stay positive.

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