Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority recently traveled to the South Side of Chicago, the home of the organization's corporate office, for a two-day health event filled with COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, mammograms, HIV testing, and a blood drive. The events also served as the official kickoff to the organization's 69th Boule Part II and 2021 Leadership Seminar, which was held virtually for members of the first Black Sorority.
Walgreens and Core served as the official partners during the two-day event and administered 77 vaccinations and 50 COVID-19 tests, respectively.
AKA's Mammography Mobile Unit provided free mammograms to 82 women while 63 HIV tests were administered by the South Side Help Center. The Community Blood Center also received blood donations from 19 residents.
"Coming home to Chicago was exciting, but more importantly, it was rewarding and embodied everything that we have stood for since 1908 – service. We were able to provide much-needed health services to our community," said Alpha Kappa Alpha International president and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover. "COVID-19 is still very real, and Black people, in particular, are behind the rest of the population in terms of receiving the vaccination. We are on a mission to change that statistic, and we are so proud that we have partners like Walgreens and CORE to help us in reversing the numbers. We aim to save at least one life through our service in the community. In Chicago, we can thankfully say we made a difference in the lives of hundreds through vaccinations, mammograms, and other health screenings."
AKA has traveled the country with Pop-Up Health Programs through the organization's international community service initiative. The events, held recently in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri as well as the Mississippi Delta, have addressed the needs of underserved communities and provided access to vaccines, health services, and more.
"At Walgreens, we are committed to the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. That's why we were delighted to partner with Alpha Kappa Alpha once again, this time in Chicago – also our home, to aid in providing access to the vaccine to underserved communities right within their community," said Alethia Jackson, vice president, Federal Government Relations and Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Taskforce at Walgreens. "Quality care and access to services is essential to living a healthy life. COVID-19 has affected Black and Brown communities in unimaginable ways. We are on a mission to ensure vaccinations are available for all."
The pop-up health events took place at Imani Village and at Jeffrey Plaza/Local Market, both located on the South Side of Chicago. Participating residents were treated to the sounds of DJ Mikal Clay as well as coffee, water, and personal protective equipment.
"It was the perfect beginning to our 69th Boule, which was unfortunately put on hold last year due to the pandemic. So, we combined our Boule with our Leadership Conference for the first time virtually," said Dr. Glover. "What better way to commemorate what was an extraordinary year than with extraordinary service to the community. AKA is never deterred no matter what the circumstances are. The pandemic created a need for vaccines, and we combined that with other crucial health services that were free of charge to residents. It was truly a momentous occasion, and we are grateful for our partners that aided in being servants for our community."
Alpha Kappa Alpha's commitment to providing essential services to the community will continue on Saturday, Aug. 21 when the Mammography Mobile Unit travels to Tulsa, Okla.