On Saturday, December 10, 2016, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated’s Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter (CJA) opened their hearts and doors to “Believe in Dreams!” For the past 15 years, CJA has supported the Laurie Haven and New Brunswick Group homes with a Christmas Extravaganza. From the generosity of its members, CJA has collectively raised and invested $75,000 to help the Christmas wishes of the displaced children at these two facilities come true.
“Believe in Dreams!” was held at the Washington Community School in Plainfield NJ. Lead by Christmas Party Chairperson Donna Houston, a committee of over 30 CJA members transformed every inch of the school’s cafetorium into a wonderland that could rival Santa’s North Pole residence. North, south, east and west corners were filled with decorations, fancy face painters, a feast fit for royalty, red velvet cupcakes, candy canes, presents galore and several St. Nicks, handsomely coiffed and dressed in their finest Christmas couture.
Entertainment for the afternoon was a showcase of dance, poetic prose and social awareness, written, choreographed and produced as a community service project by members of the Delta GEMS Institute, a youth group also serviced by the Sorority. After the show, each child met Mr. and Mrs. Claus to receive their bundles of gifts. And to inspire their young minds, each child was also given the book Hidden Figures, a donation by the chapter’s Arts and Letters committee.
The Artists Forum, organized by the Arts & Letters Committee, was held on April 16, 2016 at the Villagers Theater at 4:00pm and was designed specifically for youth. It featured artists from various mediums who were engaged in an interactive dialogue about their professional journey in the arts. A special highlight for both the chapter and the youth was the participation of our Honorary Member Suzzanne Douglas.
On April 29, 2016, the "Breaking Free from Modern Human Slavery: A Human Trafficking Forum" was hosted by the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated in partnership with the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. The forum was designed to educate and empower the community and to create support for laws protecting youth and women. It analyzed the problem of human trafficking from the perspectives of law enforcement, legal advocacy, identification and creating awareness of human trafficking, human outreach and service provisioning. Through presentations by Sergeant Rajesh Chopra, Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office of Special Victims Unit - Human Traffiking; Dr. Joelle Pierre, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller, educator and human trafficking activist, human trafficking was shown to be a major public health issue for our community, especially for youth and women.
The Arts and Letters Committee presented “A Crimson Carpet Experience: Poetry Cypher, an Evening of Spoken Word “on February 20, 2016 at the World of Beer in New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Brandi P. Jones served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event which featured youth poets Xavion McClary Fagan and Nicole Jenkins as well as poets Baseemah “Pintress” Washington, Tiana Marie Ford, Kimani “Hebrue” Hamilton, Breya “Blkbrry Molassez” Knight, Lynette Johnson, Alyea Pierce and Chris “Flowmentalz” Cook.
The first act of the Poetry Cypher began with recitations by Youth Poets – Xavion McClary Fagan, a member the National Junior Honor Society, the New Jersey Orators and the Newark Debate Team and Nicole Jenkins, a National Honor Society Senior at Piscataway High School, who was one 1 of 12 state finalists in the 2015 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest and was also honored as a 2016 finalist on February 20, 2016. Following wonderful oratory by youth poets, Baseemah “Pintress” Washington, writer, poet and spoken word artist graced the stage and performed pieces that she debuted at the Nuyorican Café. Tiana Marie Ford, College Network Program Coordinator for the New Brunswick Education Network performed thought provoking content that displays the love of God to all generations. The first act concluded with Reggae/Dancehall Artist Kimani ‘Hebrue” Hamilton.
The second act opened with Breya “Blackbrry Molassez” Knight, the poetic diabetic, who conquers ailments of diabetes daily through expressions of endless art. With her down-home Negro spiritual voice she is a mixture of gospel and hip hop sprinkled in a between words of poetry. Author/Poet Lynette Johnson who has traveled across the country performing original spoken word pieces shared works from her book Purple, where the poems are themed based on lines from the Color Purple and Purple Rain. Author, poet, playwright Alyea Pierce is the 2016 playwright-in-residence and actress for the Strength Out of Shadows Theatre company performed pieces from her work “ Every Stranger Deserves a Poem.” The Evening of Spoken word concluded with Chris “Flowmentalz” Cook, dubbed as a “Master of Personification” by using his poetry to turn everyday life situations into intellectual journeys. Flowmentalz appeared on 4 of the 6 seasons of Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Poetry.
Poetry Cypher Gallery