Yesterday morning we went out to the Harold Washington Cultural Center for Sigma Gamma Rho’s Golden Alert Town Hall Meeting. The event was very positive and featured many great people.
The event started with a complimentary continental breakfast. After that the program began with a performance by Mad Rhythms Tap Ensemble and Pebbles, which is a step team from Harold Washington Cultural Center. Then the HWCC Drill Team took to the stage with some very dazzling moves. The young men and women of the step and drill teams were very talented and the girls of Pebbles look like some future sorority members. Following these performances Jimilita Tillman, the Executive Director of the Harold Washington Cultural Center and soror of Sigma Gamma Rho came out to begin the festivities. She explained that the HWCC has a 1,000 seat theatre, recording studio, dance studio, and class rooms. It seems like a great place to have events or join in one of their many activities and shows.
Knyra Ratcliff, a young member of Sigma Gamma Rho all the way from Alabama came out to explain the many focuses of the sorority. The sorority was founded in 1922 and has been doing great work ever since. SGR has many great partnerships and programs to help advance the community. This Golden Alert Town Hall Meeting is just one of the many that will be taking place throughout the nation. The national President of Sigma Gamma Rho, Bonita M. Herring came out to salute all that worked to put the event together and introduce motivational speaker Gregory Sain. Gregory came out and spoke honestly and powerfully. He let us all know that we have work to do and that it would take many ingredients to bake the cake.
WGCI’s Leon Rogers then came out and began his work as host and moderator. As usual, he was very funny and set to work introducing the first panel. Soror Carolyn Williams came out to begin the workshop about law and knowing your rights. She as well as all of the panelists in the workshop were there representing the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, or NOBLE, which was founded in 1976 to address black on black crime. The panelists were Carla Kupe- Arion, NOBLE Chicago Chapter Community Outreach Coordinator, Eric Carter, Deputy Chief of the Chicago Police Department, Davina Ward of Internal Affairs for the Chicago Police Department, and Officer Dwayne Betts. They addressed community/police relations and procedure in interactions with cops.
Following this panel Leon came back to introduce the next presenter, Executive Director of Donda’s House and soror of Sigma Gamma Rho Donnie Smith. Donnie came out to do a presentation on the Hip Hop generation and what it needs to do to make change in the community. She began by thanking her husband, Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith, who was there to support. She says, “I love hip hop so much that I married it”. She spoke about mass incarceration and proposed some solutions to help the community. Her 3 main points was STEAM over STEM in education, collaboration over competition, and mentorship over mothership, which means our children instead of just my children.
MC Lyte was then introduced with a showing of her latest video, Dear John featuring Common. MC Lyte was there representing the Hip Hop Sisters Foundation and their initiative #EducateOurMen. The Hip Hop Sisters Foundation has been offering black men scholarships to HBCUs and mentorship to help support them in order to strengthen the black community. She also spoke about her latest book, Fusion, which speaks about the Fusion between Hip Hop and civil rights.
The next panel which talked about the themes of the event, which were Community, Education, Partnerships, & Solutions, featured publisher of the Black Pages, Eugene Dillanado, 1st Deputy of the Chicago Police Department Alfonsa Wysinger, Attorney Todd Belacore, Esq., Principal of Edward Coles Academy Jeff Dase, and sorors Congresswoman Robin Kelly, MC Lyte and Donnie Smith. They spoke about the political process, gun ownership, stopping no snitching, using resources positively, entrepreneurship, money management skills, the importance of spending money in the community, community safety, filing complaints against police and following up, becoming proactive in the schools, and including youth in the conversation. They also answered questions from the audience.
The event was sponsored in part by Nike. There were many great people in attendance including radio station WVON and Cook County Commissioner & Mayoral candidate Jesús ‘. There will be a Golden Alert National Townhall Meeting in St. Louis on February 21st. For more information on that and all Sigma Gamma Rho events go to sgrho1922.org. Also look out for Robin Kelly’s Youth Summit coming on April 11th and log on to blackpagesinternational.com to find black businesses. We want to salute all who were involved in this great event and especially thank soror Angela Spears for inviting us out.
Below is the video for Dear John along with photos from the events:
Below are a few images of the Golden Alert Town Hall Meeting: