Rancocas Valley Alumnae’s Mission…Change the Narrative
Submitted by Andrea Moffitt
We have all heard the saying, “When America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu.” Communities of color have experienced inequities in health, employment, education; the list is daunting. The emergence and persistence of the pandemic have created a glaring spotlight on such inequities and the deleterious impact on our community. In October 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate in New Jersey of 7.6 percent and 6.4 percent for Burlington County. The unemployment rate for Blacks was 10.8 percent as compared to 6.0 percent for Whites. The unemployment rate for Burlington County in 2020 ranged from a low of 3.7 percent (February) to a high of 14.0 percent (June).
On Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, both the Social Action Committee and the Program Planning & Development Committee of Rancocas Valley Alumnae Chapter (RVAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incoporated, partnered with Rowan College of Burlington County to address some of the challenges facing our community. They hosted a Virtual Career Expo aimed at #ChangingTheNarrative and #UpliftAndEmpower for the Burlington County community. Employers such as Walmart, Amazon, Cipriani and Werner, PC, Burlington County Institute of Technology, Burlington County Special Services, Burlington Township and Willingboro school districts shared current job openings with a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.
In support of RVAC’s Social Action charge to support legislation that seeks to reduce the wealth gap, financially empower members of the community, and to increase knowledge and awareness, Assemblyman Dr. Herb Conaway, District 7, discussed Assembly Bill 1325, the Family First Employer Act. This Bill is designed to ensure that employers are family-friendly. Assemblyman Conaway stated, “Flexibility is critically important. Companies do better when they promote and advance women.” Assembly Bill 1408 was also co-sponsored by Assemblyman Conaway and requires establishing apprenticeship and mentoring programs for “women, minorities and people with disabilities.” A1408 was passed by the Assembly and the Senate (S973); however, Bill A1325 needs a Senate sponsor. RVAC will contact the chair of the Women and Children’s Committee to follow-up on the status of the Bill.
Anna Payanzo Cotton, Vice President of Workforce Development at Rowan College of Burlington County, informed attendees about county programs and employment opportunities. She also explained how the Workforce Program helps to ensure employment protections and resources for women, minorities and people with disabilities. She also stated, “Our goal is for people to learn and earn family-sustaining wages in a pandemic-proof job.” Zahirah Sabir, also with Workforce Development, provided resources for job-seekers. The community can stay connected by texting WDB to 56512.
The Career Expo concluded with Regina Hairston, the newly appointed President of the African- American Chamber of Commerce for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. She shared how the Chamber is ensuring that Black businesses are “intentionally connected” to funding opportunities. Ms. Hairston also shared her journey and encouraged women to seek executive leadership roles by positioning themselves “education-wise” and ensuring that they increase their” network capital.” What better way to ensure that we are #ChangingTheNarrative and #UpliftandEmpower for the Burlington County community.
Submitted by Andrea Moffitt We have all heard the saying, “When America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu.” Communities of color have experienced inequities in health, employment, education; the list is daunting. The emergence and persistence of the pandemic have created a glaring spotlight on such inequities and the deleterious impact on our …