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Walking group provides a safe space for women and LGBTQ+ people to connect

Phoenix Babes Who Walk gained many members after a TikTok video went viral

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Phoenix Babes Who Walk take the trail along Tempe Town Lake on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

Community, inclusivity, wellness, courage and honesty are the values that Phoenix Babes Who Walk abides by to attract women and non-binary people looking for a supportive community to be part of.

The community group focuses on bringing together people who want a safe space to connect and meet with others one-on-one, including people from the ASU community.

“This community makes it 10 times easier to connect with someone with the same values,” said Alexandra Cook, an ASU alumna and Instagram manager for the group.

Julie Quinn, co-founder and TikTok manager of the group, said they host 2- to 3-mile walks every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Sometimes the group hosts social events, like meditation sessions, after the Wednesday walks.

Quinn said the group began when one of the co-founders saw a Facebook post referencing a similar group in New York City called City Girls Who Walk, and thought the Phoenix area could use something similar.

After a group of the co-founders met on Zoom, they decided to alter Phoenix Babes Who Walk into a group that accepted more than just women, but members of the LGBTQ+ community as well.

“We are designed to be a safe place for women and non-cis-men, for them to have a safe place to walk,” said Katie Caldwell, co-founder and a senior studying business sustainability. 

While the group hosts many walks, the ones that attract the most ASU students are those held at Tempe Town Lake, Kiwanis Park, Papago Park and Eldorado Park.

And for those located in downtown Phoenix, walks at Encanto Park and Steele Indian School Park are the most common.

The first walk was held in May, with only 11 people showing up. But after the group posted a TikTok recap video of the walk, which gained more than 40,000 views, the club has grown to host more than 100 people on some weekends with 300 being its biggest crowd.

“For us, it’s not about how many people show up,” Quinn said. “Even if five people showed up, that’s five more people whose lives we have positively impacted.” 

The group uses a Discord channel to communicate with walkers as to when and where the walks are being held, as well as a carpool channel where people can find rides.

“They just make it so easy, because you don’t have to sign up, which is great, so you just show up and everyone makes you feel so welcomed,” said Allison Saltsider, a frequent walker in the group. 

Although the loose commitment to the club is what appeals to many walkers, Phoenix Babes Who Walk is looking into starting an ASU-specific chapter of the group to bring in more members. The group plans to host community barbecues and tailgates at ASU football games as well as tabling at the Memorial Union. 

Quinn said that having a group like Phoenix Babes Who Walk is good for people from all over. Given that many of the members are not originally from Phoenix, "it's very diverse and you get to hear a lot of unique stories."

“I genuinely mean it when I tell people you can walk up to anyone before or after the walk and start talking to them, and it’s not weird at all,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the positive impact that the group has had on members of the community is something that Phoenix Babes Who Walk can carry on in its future endeavors. And with more members joining every walk, it is very much a "safe space."

“It’s definitely very empowering to walk with so many people, especially underrepresented individuals,” Quinn said. 

Edited by Jasmine Kabiri, Wyatt Myskow and Luke Chatham

Reach the reporter at and follow @AlyssaBickle1 on Twitter.

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Alyssa BickleCommunity Reporter

Alyssa Bickle is a staff reporter, writing for the community and culture desk. She is a writing tutor for University Academic Success Programs, and a fellow in the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. She is pursuing bachelors degrees in journalism and political science. 

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