By Michelle Richardson
Special to the AFRO
The Baltimore area chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority came together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with a weekend of sisterhood and service.
Epsilon Omega, Rho Xi Omega, Upsilon Epsilon Omega (UEO), Psi Phi Omega (PPO), and Pearls by the Bay Interest Group hosted various events the weekend of MLK day which also coincided with the sorority’s founders day on Jan. 15.
“What we call the Martin Luther King Day of Service is one of our community impact days and we have seven of those. It’s a day on not a day off,” stated Dr. Tonja Ringgold, former president of Epsilon Omega chapter.
Events held included members-only International Reactivation Day, International Sisterly Relations Day, and Day of Worship: Hats, Pearls, & Praise Service.
Opportunities for community members included A Call to Action: Spotlighting Community Partners and Day of Impact: Dr Martin Luther, Jr Community Impact Recognition, Panel, and Brunch.
“The Panel and Brunch was a really informative and interactive event,” stated a community member who attended via Zoom.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, certain events such as the panel and brunch were held online. Community members were encouraged to purchase brunch from a Black-owned small businesses to enjoy while discussing “Conversations in Color: COVID-19 in our Community” along with an expert panel of guests that included keynote speaker Roselyn Aker- Black, owner of Dr. Roz Therapeutic and Coaching Services.
Other panel speakers included Tracey Jamison, director of Articulation and Enrollment Services at UMD, and Natalie Stute, chief human resource officer of Gainwell Technologies LLC.
The panel and brunch highlighted organizations that each chapter partnered with such as Sisters Place, the Children’s Home, TurnAround, Inc, the Women’s Housing Coalition (WHC) and the Immigration Outreach Service Center (IOSC).
“We make sure that we are out there celebrating all of the service organizations. Pre-coronavirus, we were out in the parade and we’ve been doing that parade for the last decade but then we would head over to my Sisters Place and serve breakfast and lunch but it’s all about service. Our motto is “Service to all mankind”, Dr. Ringgold explained.
“With the day of service, I think what people miss the most is the hands on but we were able to have a greater outreach because we were able to share our information virtually and come together collectively. We collaborated with the other Baltimore chapters. It was five groups coming together for the first time and I thought that was really beautiful. Everyone is celebrating so we said well why not do it together,” said Dr. Ringgold when asked how COVID-19 has affected chapter activities.
“It’s not just about what Alpha Kappa Alpha is doing but we also want to engage the community to work side by side with us and have everyone join us. If we’re out there, we want you to participate with us.”
For more information on panel speakers, please visit http://sisterhoodandserviceweekend.org.
Information on each of the Baltimore area chapters and future events can be found on the chapters individual social media pages or by visiting https://akawebnet.aka1908.net/eweb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=cl_public https://aka1908.com/home