Bronx Alumnae and AKA chapter sponsor “Pink Goes Red:” Get Active, Get Healthy for American Heart Month


Submitted by Joyce Howard

On Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, the Bronx Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. entered a new site — the McKinley Houses in the newly renovated Forest Gym at 955 Tinton Avenue, — for its Healthy Heart Program. 

Karen Skinner-Parkes, Mistress of Ceremonies (DST), introduced presidents of the two sororities, Donna Joseph (AKA) and Althea Kitchens (DST). as well as lead chairs Erin Warner of Bronx Alumnae and Aronda Starks of Eta Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

There were vendors around the gym area with information about the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Day Care Center, New York State Marketplace health insurance representatives and samples of healthy snacks, such as fresh smoothies, bananas, apples, and bottled water. The Greater New York Black Nurses Association members offered blood pressure screenings and free one-on-one consultations.

The first speaker was Claire Anselmo from the American Heart Association.  She talked about steps everyone can take to prevent heart disease and strokes. For instance, being aware of your personal risk factors such as smoking, and family history of heart or kidney disease. She emphasized the importance of a healthy diet centered around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins and fish. She encouraged participants to try to limit refined carbohydrates, processed meats, salty foods and saturated fats all while being physically active. She noted that adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

The second speaker was Johanna Valencia, a masseuse who talked about the importance of stretching your body, noting that many people have sedentary jobs, which can mean spending hours sitting at a desk, often keying on a keyboard. Actions such as this can lead to stiff and painful muscles. Additionally, she demonstrated various stretching exercises and encourage the audience to try them. 

Up next was Dr. Minette Francis-Haden, an optometrist who explained how eyes are impacted by diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  He was followed by a spirit-filled demonstration by the P. S. 89 Panthers, award winning cheerleaders.

The event was closed out with an hour of Zumba, led by Lisa Phillips. This activity allowed the young girls from the cheerleading squad to exercise alongside grandmothers in the audience.  Phillips stressed that moving your body is basic necessity to keeping your heart and the rest of your body healthy. In an adjacent room, kickboxing was also available for the children in attendance.

The program, which was promoted via social media, Bronxnet TV, Bronx Times and Eventbrite, was attended by approximately 240 registered guests, 20 children and 31 chapter members.


Submitted by Joyce Howard On Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, the Bronx Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. entered a new site — the McKinley Houses in the newly renovated Forest Gym at 955 Tinton Avenue, — for its Healthy Heart Program.  Karen Skinner-Parkes, Mistress of Ceremonies (DST), introduced presidents of the two sororities, …

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