Westchester Alumnae Empowers Through “Reading is Resistance” Program
Submitted by Melissa Roy
On June 18, 2021 (Juneteenth), Westchester Alumnae Chapter (WAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated will continue its highly successful “Reading is Resistance” program with a virtual community book discussion moderated by Ilyasah Shabazz! All are welcome to join the dialog about The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs by registering at https://bit.ly/3g3Us4D.
WAC’s Program Planning & Development committee created the “Reading is Resistance” program as an initiative to further the Educational Development and Economic Development programmatic thrusts of the sorority.
“We wanted to help our community members be part of the change that was taking place in our country revolving around social justice, so we called on readers to engage in collective learning about our people, history and community,” said Tiffany S.W. Hamilton, WAC First Vice President and Chair of Program Planning & Development.
During the first week of February, WAC encouraged everyone in its community to submit titles of books and articles that empower and uplift Black readers, voices, and experiences. WAC collected book suggestions for varying age groups, including primary school, middle school, high school, and adult readers. During the second week, WAC circulated a list of readings. WAC encouraged participants to log the hours they spent reading during the third week. WAC concluded the month with a virtual dialog on the experience.
Dialog participants discussed a variety of books, including Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, James H. Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and A Community History of African America, 1619-2019: Four Hundred Souls. The discussion facilitator asked participants to consider how individuals can support the active interest and well-being of the community, and how participants can empower folks to resist the wiles of racism and oppression. A lively discussion followed. Participants reported that they most enjoyed the opportunity to connect over the discussion of important literary works.
WAC awarded readers with the highest hours of resistance reading during the relevant period with gift cards to The Lit Bar, a Black, female-owned bookstore. By awarding these gift cards, this program allowed WAC to continue its year-long focus on supporting Black-owned businesses.
The feedback was so positive that WAC is now committed to making “Reading is Resistance” an annual initiative with programs from Program Planning & Development, Arts and Letters and Social Action! The new annual initiative allows WAC to continue to partner with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Library. In March, WAC chapter members donated 22 books to the library, one of which was selected for the Juneteenth event.
WAC President, Kanika Morgan, stated “from ‘Reading is Resistance’ to the Freedom Library donation, (the chapter has) highlighted Black authors and elevated Black voices. We have been connecting the dots with programming and collaboration and want that and its impact to shine through!”
Submitted by Melissa Roy On June 18, 2021 (Juneteenth), Westchester Alumnae Chapter (WAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated will continue its highly successful “Reading is Resistance” program with a virtual community book discussion moderated by Ilyasah Shabazz! All are welcome to join the dialog about The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther …