In 1908, the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated completed their first service project at the Freedmen’s Bureau and over a century later, current members hosted a health pop up event directly across the street, providing free covid vaccines, covid testing and 3-D mammogram screenings for Howard University students and the DC community.
This event coincides with “Women’s Healthcare and Wellness,” one of the sorority’s five sustainable service program targets, where their very own mobile breast cancer screening unit travels internationally granting free mammograms to women of all walks of life. Having just left Arizona, the mobile traveled to the DMV area to be hosted by Alpha Chapter at Howard University on Friday and Alpha Delta Chapter at Morgan State University on Saturday in honor of HBCU Week.
Attendees were allowed to choose between the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, get tested for covid, receive mammogram screening and a flu shot without showing any proof of insurance, according to Alpha chapter member and senior finance major Dejanna Newkirk. One attendee, a freshman biology major named Emonie Colon, said that the music attracted her to the event as she walked back to her dorm from the bursar’s office. However, she was grateful to have received a professional covid test compared to the ones conducted in Blackburn.
“I didn’t feel like it [Howard’s covid tests] was equivalent to, like, a real covid test because they had us self-administer it, so I just felt more comfortable with professionals doing it for me,” Colon said.
Alpha chapter intended for this event to aid in the work that the university has already been doing to track covid on campus and ensure the safety of all students.
“Definitely just aiding Howard University, continuing the covid testing… showing that we’re alongside them and most definitely fighting for everyone to get vaccinated and making sure that we, eventually, eradicate this pandemic,” Nia Rutherford, a senior television and film major and Alpha chapter member, said.
The HBCU Week pop-up health event took about a month of planning, digital advertising and communicating with community partners, according to Deidra Davis, the Alpha chapter graduate advisor. Sorority members, the international president, regional director, Howard professors and healthcare professionals were present at this event. The overall purpose of the HBCU Week Health Pop-Up was to alleviate health disparities Black women have dealt with both disproportionately battling COVID-19, breast cancer and mammography screening.
“It just also puts a highlight on health, women’s health, and, actually, specifically for Black women because, as we all know, Black women are not always heard when it comes to their own personal health,” Morgan Danztler, a senior advertising major and Alpha chapter member, said. “Our voices matter and what we say matters.”