Staten Island Alumnae Uses Education to Amplify the Power of the Vote
Submitted by Yolanda R. Scott
Staten Island Alumnae Chapter (SIAC) continues the “Legacy of Social Action” set forth by the Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as they remain focused on bringing voter education and awareness to the Staten Island community. In SIAC, the chapter utilizes a “boots on the ground” approach.
Throughout the sorority year, SIAC members echoed the mantra set forth by the chapter’s Social Action Chair, Michelle Akyempong, that “Every member should be committed, engaged and proactive in the chapter’s efforts to reach the community we serve.” They stressed the impact of the “VOTE” in all elections and that everyone’s vote should not just be limited to voting for the next President, but also toward local political seats, as that directly impacts the residents of Staten Island.
Despite SIAC’s small chapter size within the NYC metropolitan area, it has been able to develop different ways to mobilize its voter education plan. The goal was to answer the community’s questions and provide information. In the process of interacting with members of the community, the chapter discovered that many of the people they engaged were unclear as to their voting rights, which ultimately led to the chapter registering new voters.
The misunderstanding of individual voting rights was most prevalent during a voter education program that SIAC co-sponsored with the NYC Department of Probation. The initial efforts to provide voter education at Staten Island’s local Probation office also led to the chapter to register individuals who assumed that their prior legal issues made them ineligible to vote.
To further engage the residents of Staten Island, the chapter hosted town hall meetings, conducted door-to-door visits at NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and in order to reach more men of color, visited local barbershops. They also set-up informational tables at several local events, community centers, schools, and the Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day.
While SIAC does not do the work of Delta for accolades, it has been recognized locally for its efforts. NYC Councilmember Debi Rose of the 49th district, recognized SIAC at her annual Black History Month program held on Feb, 28, 2020, where SIAC was presented with a NYC Council Proclamation in “Recognition of (the) Chapter’s Community Service and Social Action Initiatives.” The recognition for the chapter’s work did not stop there. It also received the following awards: “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” from Congressman Max Rose, 11th District, “Certificate of Honor” from the Office of the Richmond County Public Administrator, “Certificate of Recognition” from the Office of the Public Advocate and “Certificate of Recognition” from the Office of the Richmond County District Attorney.
Despite the nation’s “new normal” and the impact that COVID-19 has had on New York and beyond, SIAC looks forward to continuing to serve their community on the ground, virtually or through its social media platforms. They also plan to continue to work with other civic-minded local organizations to increase their reach. For more information about SIAC, please visit www.dstsialumnae.org.
Submitted by Yolanda R. Scott Staten Island Alumnae Chapter (SIAC) continues the “Legacy of Social Action” set forth by the Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as they remain focused on bringing voter education and awareness to the Staten Island community. In SIAC, the chapter utilizes a “boots on the ground” approach. Throughout the …