Philadelphia Alumnae Participates in MLK Day of Service

Submitted by Carole Harvey and Diana L. Taylor

The Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter (PAC) participated in the 29th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 15, 2024. Social Action tri-chairs (Sorors Marvetta Coleman, Linda Miller and Tara Smith), the MLK Subcommittee (Sorors Melissa Scott-Walker, Dana Ellis and Shirlana Dash), committee and chapter members, focused on menstrual hygiene, support for PA House Bill 850 and voter registration. Activities were conducted at three sites: Girard College, the Signature Site (the oldest and largest King Day event in the nation); and two Partner Sites, Lucien Blackwell Community Center, and Cristo Rey High School. More than 125 PAC members registered and participated in the Day of Service.

During the Opening Ceremony, State and City officials including Governor Josh Shapiro and esteemed Soror Mayor Cherelle Parker, the first African-American and first female Mayor, addressed the crowd of community members and volunteers. Philadelphia media outlets featured PAC community engagement and volunteerism.

Activities at Girard College included assembling PAC donated menstrual hygiene kits for the No More Secrets Mind, Body, Spirit, Inc. organization headed by Soror Lynette Medley, Founder and CEO. Located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, this is the nation’s first Menstrual Hub and Uterine Wellness Center and addresses the menstrual hygiene needs of girls and women. In addition, background information was distributed on period inequity. Male and female community members composed letters to encourage elected state officials to support the period equity House Bill 850 (HB850). Community participants received a “red ring” of QR codes which contained information, provided by the City Commissioners’ Office on Voter Registration: rap videos on Voting; voter registration information; planning and building a ballot; polling place; How a Bill becomes a Law; House Bill 850 and, voting eligibility with a conviction in PA, The Wheel of Great Knowledge educated participants on civic issues and provided entertainment with giveaways.

Delta Academy, Jabberwock Scholars and PAC chapter members worked together at the Lucien Blackwell Community Center to assemble period product bags.  Local and state elected officials addressed the attendees and stressed the importance of voting. A voting machine was available to conduct a hands-on experience of the city’s voting system. The PAC letter writing station explained how to write a letter to move or amend a House Bill. HB850 was utilized to demonstrate the process.

Cristo Rey High School’s seven activities were planned by the students and leadership, under the direction of Soror Jennifer Rivers, which included an education and advocacy workshop and Voter Education initiatives, led by the PAC volunteers. Musical selections were rendered by members of the PAC Choir, under the direction of Soror Sheila Hawes.

A total of 400 period equity bags were assembled and more than 50 letters were written to state officials in support of HB 850.

The Day of Service event strengthened our commitment to Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service and Social Action in the City of Philadelphia.

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