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AKA Ambassadors: From Southern California to Southern Africa

Picture reflects those who attended the “Welcome to South Africa” trip including coordinator of the trip Ms. Shalimar Horsely, front row, and 9th person in black top.

Picture reflects those who attended the “Welcome to South Africa” trip including coordinator of the trip Ms. Shalimar Horsely, front row, and 9th person in black top.

Following a presentation to chapter members and two years of prayer and planning, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Eta Nu Omega San Bernardino/Riverside Chapter, completed its pilgrimage to the Motherland during the month of March 2015 with an itinerary started in London, England, and continued to Cape Town, South Africa, Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and Johannesburg, South Africa, along with thirty-nine member group included eighteen Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority members, representing chapters from California, Maryland, Illinois, and North Carolina.

The development of the trip began as a vision of local chapter members, Annette Weathington, Immediate Past President, and Shalimar Horsley, Global Poverty Chairman, both of Eta Nu Omega Chapter who had visited South Africa in 2011 and 2013, respectively, with tour group, Mahogany Vacations, an African American owned travel company. While touring in Africa, the ladies easily noted the beauty and rich culture of the people, but the deprivation in countries where the economies boast some of the world’s highest levels of unemployment, poverty, and medical challenges had a much greater impact. The deplorable conditions were a reminder of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s commitment to address the issues of global poverty; Eta Nu Omega Chapter members eagerly embraced the challenge that Shalimar proposed with the cooperation of Mahogany Vacations owner, Perez Melhado a life changing “vacation with a purpose” was organized by the pair.

Visits to Baphumelele children’s home, founded by Rosalie “Mama Rosa” Mashale in 1989, for orphaned children ages 0-18, and the Iliso Care Society, a soup kitchen founded by activist Vivian Zilo in 2005, provide services to underserved children. Both organizations are located in the Khaylitsha Township where they provide services to underserved children.   The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority members, the members of the Mahogany Vacation staff, and the other tour guests collectively donated food, clothing, diapers, personal hygiene items, toys and other supplies, as well as monetary donations.

Other highlights of the trip included a visit to Robben Island where President Mandela and other political activists were imprisoned, participation in several African safaris, a tour of Cape Town vineyards, a walking tour through the glorious Victoria Falls, and a visit to District Six, a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa, where over 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970’s by the apartheid regime.  Tours of Nelson Mandela’s presidential home, as well as his Soweto home, the Apartheid Museum, and the Iziko Museums Slave Lodge was additional highlights that contributed to the experiences of the group.

Local presiding Eta Nu Omega Chapter president, Tiena Johnson-Hall stated, “Our objective was to do more than tour different African countries, we wanted to witness and better understand the history of the countries we visited and to provide support for two grass-roots projects that were actively making a difference in the lives of the people in those communities.  Service to mankind is a key component of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s principle goals, so participating in a cultural tour that included a giving back element is quite rewarding on many levels.”

World Acclaimed Journalist Visits Westside Story News

wallace and Anas

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Last week, world acclaimed investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas met with publisher of the Westside Story Newspaper, Wallace Allen, during a brief visit to Southern California. You can view Anas’ extensive portfolio at anasaremeyawanas.org.

Inland Empire Youth Reap Knowledge and Electronic Rewards at SGR Youth Symposium

More than 30 Inland Empire youth attended the annual Youth Symposium

More than 30 Inland Empire youth attended the annual Youth Symposium

RIALTO, CA- More than 30 area youth ages 13 to 17 were treated to a wealth of information by local leaders and a youth panel and received more than $1,200 worth of electronic door prizes at the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Youth Symposium, hosted by the Theta Pi Sigma Inland Empire alumnae chapter.

Using the national theme “Building Partnerships to Support Our Youth,” the event, held at Rialto Middle School, included engaging community partnership speakers. Cynthia “The Tech Diva” Frazier led an interactive segment on proper Internet and social media use, as well as practical tips to avoid becoming a victim of Internet predators. 100 Black Men, Inland Empire president, and senior law enforcement official Damon Alexander’s timely session presented “real talk” on the proper way to interact with law enforcement officers.

Terrance Stone, founder of the Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, gave the young attendees vivid examples of how to secure “mountain climbing” life success. Nutritionists Art and Ikssa Giovanni displayed examples of the amount of sugar, salt and fat found in common snacks, fast foods and drinks and the health pitfalls that result from it.

The event also included a youth panel discussion led by local high school and college students. Panelist Manny Gray, a full-time student at Cal State – San Bernardino who also grew up through the foster care system, asked the youth to consider his motto: “I don’t live life to merely exist; I live life to make a great impact.”

Other panelists included Kidisti Daniel, a senior majoring in psychology at the University of California at Riverside and member of Sigma Gamma Rho and Jaire Bowen, a high school senior, most notably known for his lead role in the February 2015 documentary Searching for Mentors.

Every youth attendee was asked to complete questionnaires before and after the event to gauge the level of learning and to secure input that will be used to further improve the event for next year. While several lessons and nuggets of wisdom were made available to all of the attendees, each had their own special takeaways. Door prizes included a flat screen TV, a variety of headphones, Bose speakers, an electronic tablet, a Kindle and other electronics for educational use and pleasure.

Generous donations in support of the youth were provided by the Riverside Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Pi Rho Alumni Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and the Riverside Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes.