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Meet Trailblazer Markeea Hart, Janita Kilgore and Mia Marshall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Markeea Hart, Janita Kilgore and Mia Marshall.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We all went to college together at Edinboro University – we knew of each other, but we didn’t get as close as we are until Keea approached us (Mia & Janita) with the idea of the joining her for the podcast. We went out one night to a local event and ended up going outside to the front patio and talking for hours. It was such a natural conversation that Keea texted us that night and asked if we’d be interested!

We had many conversations of how we viewed Pittsburgh as young adults and realized (after going to various events in the city) that there weren’t many events that appeal to us, or that were for us. We based the mission statement for GirlsRunningShit to be a safe space/platform to not only support local black creatives and entrepreneurs but to also promote mental health within the black community. We’ve expanded it to of course include femme and non-binary individuals. We want everyone to feel welcomed and included.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We wouldn’t say we’ve run into any struggles between ourselves as much as issues within the city of Pittsburgh. We’ve run into issues with finding affordable spaces for events, funding for the podcast (we put a lot of our own money into the podcast, events, etc.) and having support from outside of our own community.

Any advice for other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey?
We would definitely say don’t wait for anyone to start doing what makes you happy. Networking is truly a big part of expanding your brand – don’t be afraid to go to events solo because you never know what connection you could make.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
Girls Running Shit is a podcast that was made to create a safe space to mainly support local black women/femme-identifying/nonbinary creatives and entrepreneurs and to discuss mental health within the black community. We are known for our podcast, but also for the local events we hold. Our main event we have is “Speak Your Truth” which is an open-mic/spoken word/poetry event.

We decided as a collective to use the money we get from the events to create our “We Care Kits”, which we donate to those in need. Seeing the smiles of those who received the kits and those who said they felt seen and safe at our “Speak Your Truth” event was an incredible experience. Even when we hear people who listen to us say they took something away from an episode, it’s beautiful. We want to make an impact and want this platform to be bigger than us – we feel like that sets us apart!

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
We talk a lot about our experiences of growing up in Pittsburgh as kids and coming back to live here after college/leaving the city as young adults. With growing up in Pittsburgh and understanding the way people think here has helped us to better navigate this space and set up our expectations for what would be successful as an event/episode.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The “GRS” image & Self-Care shirt images – @pixelray_
Photo of us in the Honda Gear – @visionarymedia
Natural hair panel photo – @bougiewilliamsphotography
LuxuRae Hair (three of us standing in the street) – @joelowreyphoto

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