The Social Action Committee held an impactful and empowering educational community event on October 1, 2023.  The Give4Life: Sickle Cell Awareness Community Blood Drive was a huge success.  We almost doubled our goal in blood donation of 58 units collected versus a 34-unit goal where 47% of blood donations were first time blood donors!  In conjunction with the American Red Cross and partnership with Physical and Mental Health along with Strategic Partnerships, we could not have asked for a better team.  We also partnered with an outstanding group of young people who are a part of the AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) and JAG (Jobs for American Graduates) program at Plainfield High School.  These young people were professional and purposeful in their volunteer efforts to support this program.  We look forward to future partnerships with Plainfield High School and these outstanding future servant leaders.

The committee also incorporated a letter-writing component as part of our initiative to educate, advocate, and engage in our community. We want to raise awareness on health inequities in underserved communities like Plainfield and use our voice to move action into results.  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is and always has been about Social Action.  It is what we do! Our letter-writing campaign was in support of Bill S.2710.  The companion Bill A.4052 passed by unanimous consent 75-0-0 in June of this year would establish a three-year sickle cell disease pilot program that would launch sickle cell treatment centers in six New Jersey principalities including Plainfield.  We look forward to the same success for Bill S.2710.

The Honorable Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, District 15 and The Honorable Assemblywoman Linda S. Carter, District 22 were in attendance to offer remarks on the status of Bill S.2710.  Also in attendance was Dr. Kerri Powell, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Services Corporation in Plainfield and Mary Bentley LaMar, Founder and Executive Director of The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey.  We were so very thankful that they could attend.  Dr. Powell educated us on the history of sickle cell and how her health center will continue to serve the community as it will be the site of sickle cell education and treatment in Plainfield should Bill S.2710 is successful.  Mary Bentley LaMar shared her community work on sickle cell and its impact on urban communities around the state of New Jersey.

We had several vendors on hand to share resource materials and to discuss their work in the community on sickle cell disease.   A special thank you to Pfizer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hackensack Meridian Health, Neighborhood Health Services, and The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey.

Additional thanks and recognition to Sorors in our chapter who shared their personal stories on the impact that sickle cell disease has had in their own lives.  Sorors Lenore Davis (mom) and Mawiyah Husbands (daughter) both bravely spoke about how this debilitating disease changed their lives forever.  Soror Lenore lost two children to sickle cell disease.  Soror Mawiyah stood with her mom to put forth their own personal call to action on the importance of donating blood to such a worthy and life-enabling cause.  There are many other families just like Sorors Lenore and Mawiyah who have been tragically affected by sickle cell disease and we thank them for their bravery in keeping the memory of their loved ones alive. 

Finally, thank you to our Executive Board team of Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. under the leadership of Soror President Patricia Williamson.  We are so very appreciative of the chapter and community support for the first event of the program year.  We look forward to promoting this event on an annual basis in recognition of Sickle Cell Awareness month.

Please join us in writing to your Senator in support of this impactful legislation by following this link.