About Us

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We Run Brownsville’s mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle for women living and working in Brownsville by providing opportunities to actualize empowerment by adopting a comprehensive approach to wellness through training and education. Women are supported in articulating their vision for high quality lives as informed decision-makers through a lens of power-sharing and equity.



We Run Brownsville is a grassroots effort to encourage women who are living and working in Brownsville to take ownership of their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Runners participate in an 8-week walk to run program that prepares them to complete a competitive 5K race. Team members belong to a caring peer network that promotes personal growth, centers responsibility and accountability and celebrates group achievements within a framework guided by authentic voice, compassion, and joy.

As agents of change, We Run Brownsville hones existing advocacy skills and cultivates capacity building as best practices by recognizing the unique contributions women can make in leading the transformation of our neighborhood and in valuing their expertise and experience as an effective way to inform policy.




In 2015, the New York State Health Foundation released a pool of funds to six areas within the state where overall living conditions negatively impacts the lives of residents. A local organization was designated to oversee the Brownsville Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative with provisions to support community members in crafting innovative ways for their neighbors to access their best health with the help of great ideas and modest funding. With little to no outreach and even less coaching for the handful of residents who did apply, most of the funding was slated to go to organizations with significant existing budgets. We Run Brownsville co-founders Sheila Barksdale-Gordon and Dionne Grayman decided they could either protest the injustice inherent in a process that seem rigged or they could disrupt the process and promote the justice required to literally move a community forward.

To learn more about our co-founders, click here.