MILWAUKEE -- A week of celebration of African-American culture, entertainment, art, and business officially kicked off Saturday morning, Aug. 3. Bronzeville Week fanfare began with addressing a serious issue meant to strengthen the community.
Runners prepared to trek through the streets of Milwaukee's north side, sharing an an educational message that has impacted hundreds of families over the years.
"Why not start within the heart of the city in Bronzeville?" asked Tonda Thompson. "Share awareness toward the infant mortality issue that we are having in the city."
For Thompson, this event was personal.
"In 2013, I lost my own son to a tragic situation," said Thompson.
Thompson turned her pain and grief into passion and purpose by organizing the HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run for healthy birth outcomes.
"We want the community to know there is a way that we can all reduce this issue of infant mortality," said Thompson.
City leaders said Milwaukee has a radical disparity when it comes to the tragedies.
"It's very important we have knowledge about keeping our babies healthy," said Quinese Bell, participant.
From premature births and unsafe sleeping environments, to social and economic issues, the goal was to raise awareness by promoting wellness, and encouraging families to be mentally and physically healthy.
"It's all connected -- mind, body, and spirit," said Jeanette Kowalik, health commissioner. "Making sure that we are addressing the need for physical activity helps improve and develop mental health as well."
More than 300 people united, and they were ready to reach the finish line, and help Milwaukee's young people reach their next birthday.
"There's so many good things going on right here," said Bell.
"We can do something about this," said a participant. "We are doing something about this, and we need to have a collective effort."
For more information to help with healthy birth outcomes, or resources for new moms and their families, CLICK HERE.