Delta Day at the New Jersey State House: Shaping Policy, Inspiring Progress

Submitted by Ferlanda Fox Nixon

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, successfully hosted its annual Delta Day at the New Jersey State House (DDNJSH) on June 24, 2024. The event, which focused on political awareness and involvement, convened sorority members, state officials, and community leaders for a day of engaging discussions and networking.

The lively registration and breakfast set an energetic tone for the proceedings. New Jersey State Coordinator, Dr. Donna Marable, and New Jersey State Social Action Coordinator, Dr. Alicia Benjamin-Stennett, started the event with inspiring opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of civic engagement and community advocacy.

The first session on home appraisal discrimination and consumer affairs proved to be highly informative. Panelists Aarin Williams, Esq., Chief Advisor to the Director of the Division on Civil Rights, and Eric Apar, Esq., Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for the Division of Consumer Affairs, provided valuable insights into these pressing issues. Yolanda N. Melville, Esq., moderated the discussion. The session was further elevated by the presence of New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, who delivered a compelling address to the attendees.

Lieutenant Governor Tahesha L. Way‘s remarks underscored the state government’s commitment to addressing the concerns raised during the event. Her presence added significant weight to the discussions and demonstrated the impact of Delta Sigma Theta’s advocacy efforts.

The second session on economic disparities and transformative opportunities featured dynamic presentations from Dr. John E. Harmon Sr., IOM, Founder, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and Leslie A. Anderson, President and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. Their expertise provided attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the economic challenges and opportunities facing their communities. Anita Wemple moderated the panel.

Following a productive working lunch and group photo session, the afternoon focused on democracy and justice. Representatives from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice led an engaging discussion on protecting and expanding voting rights. The panel included Micauri Vargas, Esq., Associate Counsel for the Democracy and Justice Program, Assatta Mann, Senior Community Organizer, and Nuzhat Chowdhury, Esq., Senior Counsel for the Democracy and Justice Program. Ma’isha Aziz, Esq., served as the panel moderator.

The day concluded with a series of activities celebrating the Divine Nine (D9) Black Greek Letter Organizations. Proclamations were presented at the State House, followed by a commemorative group photo. The networking event at Cooper’s Riverview provided a perfect ending to the day, allowing attendees to continue to build connections and discuss the insights gained throughout the event.

Overall, DDNJSH was a resounding success, reinforcing Delta Sigma Theta’s commitment to political engagement and community advocacy. The event not only provided valuable information and resources to attendees but also strengthened the sorority’s relationships with state officials and community leaders. Notably, in addition to Marable and Benjamin-Stennett, several key roles throughout the day were filled by other dedicated members of Delta Sigma Theta, including Williams, Melville, Anderson, Wemple, and Aziz.

Credit: Photo by Eastern Regional Journalist Chanta L. Jackson

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