Philadelphia Alumnae Sponsors International Women’s Day event

Submitted by Concetta Lilly and Trinia McLaine

On March 17, 2024, the International Awareness & Involvement (IA&I) Committee of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter hosted an impactful International Women’s Day event at the New Joy Missionary Baptist Church. This event centered around this year’s theme “Inspire Inclusion” focused on “when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.” It featured a dynamic panelist discussion, a head-wrapping demonstration, and a taste of international cuisine. In recognition of this year’s official color, which signifies justice and dignity the IA&I Committee members adorned purple attire.

Co-chair Concetta Lilly opened the program with a warm greeting and heartfelt poem. First Lady Candace Smith of the New Joy Missionary Baptist Church prayed a fervent prayer and a resounding welcome was given by chapter president, Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon.  A member of the chapter’s praise dance team, Simone Pollard set the house ablaze with her inspirational dance and then the panelists were introduced. The panelists were Viviane Aires-Edghill, Veronica Badillo, Dr. Kayleigh O’Keefe, and Shilpa Udgata hailed from Brazil, Puerto Rico, New York, and India. Dr. LaToya Council, moderator, presented questions to the panel centered around the inclusion of women in their respective cultures, in the home, in the workplace, and in the world at large. The panelist also discussed what inspired them to inspire others. This panel discussion was relatable to everyone and all witnessed the overwhelming positive affirmations and comments that flowed throughout the conversation. The audience then engaged in an interactive question and answer session.

Following the Q&A session, we served our guests a “taste” of international cuisine. The menu included Jollof Rice, Paella, Pastelillos, Arroz con Pollo and a vegetable and fruit tray. For dessert we tasted Tres Leches Cake and to top it all off Ginger Beer was our beverage of choice. As all ate and fellowshipped with one another, the traditional head wrapping demonstration began. Theresa Rolling and Doris Anderson Nkumahi from Liberia and Nigeria, demonstrated various styles of head wrapping on participants from the audience.

As the chapter wrapped up our program, Dr. Kenesta Mack read two poems that reflected on being a powerful, yet grateful and humble woman.  The chapter also raffled off four gift baskets representing the home countries of our panelists. The audience was asked to complete the post-program survey to assess the program and to determine how likely they were to attend a future International Women’s Day program. Co-chair Trina McLaine closed the program with the following message: “embrace diversity, uplift one another, and work towards building a future where every woman’s voice is heard and respected.” 

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