A few weeks ago I moderated a panel here in our own backyard at the 2017 Urban Health Expo held at a private historically black university, Huston–Tillotson, for a lunch and learn focused on the important ties between mental and physical health within the black community. Alexandra Wilson is the founder of Queens Conquer as well as PR representative for the UHE. We recently sat down to catch up, and she reminded me why having representation and building more health and wellness awareness within the black community matters so much.

The Austin Socialite is an events, marketing and media company that Terry and Sharla Pierre founded about six years ago. Their focus has been people of color and providing lifestyle resources to the city.

They are constantly looking for ways to close the gap on disparities for the disadvantaged. It's no secret that health challenges, along with many others--economics, crime, prison rates, business ownership, school resources, education--are vastly disproportionate in the African American community compared to other demographics. They teamed up with other community leaders that hold the same mission and vision, such as Naomi Onyebuchi, owner of Body By Na, Certified Personal Trainer; Alexandra Wilson, founder, Queens Conquer, PR; Tonya Brown, community event expert, Ashton Haywood, Women Who Werk, PR/Events. One thing lead to another. Together, we made magic.

Take time to rest and refuel along your journey. Most importantly, conquer from within. Your mindset shapes your reality.

We have so many talented African-American chefs, doctors, trainers, educators and athletes that live here and we want to showcase their talents and give them an opportunity to educate the community on a variety of ways we can support each other and be the change we want to see.

Media usually shows that only a certain ethnicity or gender practices zumba, barre or yoga, but that is not necessarily true. We wanted to provide a safe space for us, where we can relate and empower one another by breaking barriers.
Alexandra Wilson, Queens Conquer

This event was successful in so many ways.

We had over 400 attendees and it was 19 degrees that morning--our community still showed up ready for the workout party! We determine the measure of success of any event by our guest's interest level and if they're enjoying themselves.

We have created a Facebook page with other 1, 000 people where we can share health and wellness events happening in the city to stay encouraged and empowered along your journey. Plus we share cooking tips, group workouts and more. The Urban Health Expo was a dynamic event that gave our community an opportunity to discuss the importance of mental health, share tips on how to cook quick and healthy meals and experience a variety of fitness activities they haven't tried before, by people that look like them.

We had so many amazing panelists that shined a light on mental health and ways to practice self-care.

The Grand Finale, Lunch & Learn, had many key points from 4-time Olympic Gold Track Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, CEO of Lone Star Circle of Care Rhonda Mundhenk, Strength and Conditioning Professional Jeff "Madd Dog" Madden, owner of Pure Barre Austin Rashanna Moss, and founder of Rockstar Fitness of Ade Hazley. My biggest takeaway was from Rashanna Moss "No matter where you are in your journey, you have the power to create a healthy lifestyle. Everything starts within our minds and the more we understand that our challenges are just as much as our gift, we'll be prepared to embrace those transitions and take advantage of the power we hold."

I think we overlook the importance of our mental health. We focus on looking good vs feeling good. It's important that we make health a priority-mentally and physically. 
Alexandra Wilson, Urban Health Expo

Rest, recharge and rebuild. Progress is a process.

Take time to rest and refuel along your journey. Most importantly, conquer from within. Your mindset shapes your reality.

Shannon Jones III, Director of Austin Public Health, has already told us he is looking forward to what we do next year because we totally outdid his expectations--stay tuned! Visit the Urban Health Expo website for more details.

Read 'I Noticed No Natural Hair Events in My Hometown, So I Created My Own'