Rodney “Hurricane” Carter Jr. is a fitness expert and a competitive boxer, and is making a difference in New York’s Harlem community by marking Juneteenth with a day of empowerment, health, and wellness.
“Hurricane Fit Day” is a way to lift up the underserved who face challenges with maintaining their health and fitness levels due to a lack of support and resources. So, M&F caught up with its founder to observe why events like these are so important, and how anyone can get involved.
“Juneteenth” (short for June Nineteenth) is also known as “Freedom Day,” honoring the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. Celebrated since the 1800s, President Joe Biden finally made this date a national holiday when he signed a bill in 2021. At its core, Juneteenth is a day when communities get together to share hope and positive thoughts for the future. One day prior to this, on June 18, Hurricane Fit Day is presented with the same hope for change, with a focus on gaining better access for health and wellness initiatives. It’s an event that is free for all to attend, and will include the Harlem Hurricane Race, tug of war, volleyball, music, and other wellness-related activities.
Why do some racial and ethnic minorities need support with health and fitness?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are a number of factors that can lead to inactivity and poor nutrition among minorities. In many areas of the United States, there is a lack of safe or convenient places where residents can be physically active, and a gym membership is often out of reach for those on a low income. The prevalence of cheap fast-food outlets leads to unhealthy food choices and a lack of education around fitness and nutrition only serves to exacerbate the problem.
That’s why community leaders such as Rodney Carter Jr. feel the need to encourage residents to move more and eat better. Carter Jr. is a certified sports conditioning expert and a master trainer. “Fighting for Fitness” is a heartfelt campaign to bring his passion and knowledge to the masses.
“We strive to bridge the gap to form a physically fit lifestyle,” he says. “Building community and making fitness fun is our goal. Creating fun activities for people to challenge themselves with, and set goals for, are methods that we use to help create a healthy and active lifestyle. This is needed more than ever as levels of obesity increase in our society.”
What can be done to improve the health and fitness levels of minority communities?
“Better education is super important because with less access comes less education, less awareness and people are less inclined to live a healthy active lifestyle,” says Carter. “If you’re unable to live a healthy lifestyle mentally, emotionally and physically then this will dramatically limit your potential in any endeavor.” The 40-year-old gym co-owner originally gained a love of fitness through boxing but during the last 15 years, he’s also built a solid reputation for turning people’s lives around, helping them to lose weight and add years to their life expectancy.
While Hurricane Fit Day, with its numerous activities, food and live entertainment is inclusive and fun, it is also essential for getting an important message across. “It was created to bring the community together. To engage, educate, empower, and motivate,” says Carter Jr. “We are changing the way our community views fitness, healthy eating, and leading them to a lifestyle that can’t just be physically healing but can also be mentally and emotionally satisfying too.”
How can anyone get involved in community fitness initiatives?
If you feel that it might be time to work on your health, events like this are a great way to start your journey. And, if you are a fitness professional, why not set up your own free local event? Additionally, individuals and companies can sponsor events such as Hurricane Fit Day because there’s no doubt about it, we are stronger together. Make sure to search the web for a local and accessible fitness resource, and if you are in the Harlem area and would like to attend Hurricane Fit Day, all are welcome. Contact the organizers through the details at Here to register your place