On Saturday, April 2, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Pasadena Alumnae Chapter (PAC), in collaboration with numerous community partners, presented the 13th Annual Young African American Women’s Conference for girls in middle and high school at Pasadena City College (PCC).
The theme this year was “Your Life Matters! #KnowThySelf #EmbraceYourEducation #BePersistent #GetReady2BeReady!” and the event provided an opportunity for over 300 girls and their parents/guardians to explore their special talents and interests; identify resources and tools to succeed in college; heighten their awareness of career options; and learn about relevant life issues. All participants received conference materials, numerous give-a-ways, breakfast, lunch and numerous ways to win great door prizes, including two tickets to Kobe Bryant’s last game as a L.A. Laker.
Tanya Cobb, President of the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. opened the conference with greetings from the Sorority. The audience stood and was led by Allisonne Airitan in the singing of “Lift Every Voice”. PCC President/Superintendent Dr. Rajen Vurdien and Dr. Robert Bell welcomed the audience to the campus. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Assemblyman Chris Holden, PAC Delta Academy Program member Isabel Glionna and Tournament of Roses President Mr. Brad Ratliff also greeted the audience. Personal perspectives on realizing one’s dreams were presented by 2016 Rose Princesses Bryce Bakewell and Regina Pullens (introduced by PAC Delta GEMS Program members Dominique Wright and Shelby Mumford respectively). PAC Delta Academy Program member Jamila Cummings introduced Ms. Natalie Patterson, Poet, Teaching Artist and Creative Consultant who served as the keynote speaker and delivered several inspirational original poems. The audience was engaged in and responsive to her poetry.
The conference included fourteen workshops that were related to the goals of the event and were presented by experts in their respective fields. The career workshops focused on social justice, education, writing and communications. STEM, entertainment and business professions. Life skill workshops covered college readiness, body image, self-esteem, identifying nutrition and exercise, skills for cyber safety and ways to cope with stress. Parent workshops offered information on college financial aid, the impact of pop culture on teens, how to raise socially conscious teen and other teen related issues.
Participants visited exhibitors from the community, business and educational entities to discuss qualifications for various careers and resources for educational, career and lifestyle choices. Exhibitors included: PCC, Kaiser Summer Youth Program, YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, Planned Parenthood, Jenesse Center, Inc, Catalina Island Camps, STEAM:CODERS, My Road to College, UNCF – L.A. Branch, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; Art Center College of Design, Morgan State University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Harvard-Westlake Summer Program, College Launch, Day One, National Council of Negro Women, Pasadena Police Department/Sheriff Department, and many more.
During the closing session, radio personality, Tammi Mac of 102.3 KJLH Radio, Los Angeles Afternoons w/Mac & Amiche, presented a motivating speech with a focus on overcoming obstacles, converting negatives to positives and maximizing potential to achieve aspirations. Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement at Occidental College and Mistress of Ceremony for the fantastic Poetry Jam, is an artist, activist and educator. Poets included: Davona Watson, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School; Brittany Ree Botts, a poet, scholar, and activist; Jay Dent, an actress, poet, motivational speaker, business developer, and creative consultant; Jeanelle Austin, and impromptu student poets, Kylah Duvernary and Lauren Davis, who volunteered on the spot to read their original work.
Sponsors and partners making the day possible included: Pasadena City College, Pasadena Delta Foundation, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, Panda Cares Foundation, Inc., Chick Fil-A Pasadena, Nestlé USA, Tournament of Roses Foundation, The Honorable Judy Chu (27th Congressional District), The Honorable Michael D. Antonovich (5th Supervisorial District), The Honorable Chris Holden (41st Assembly District), The Honorable Anthony Portantino (Former Assemblyman), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.- Eta Lambda Omega Chapter, Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena Star News, San Gabriel Valley News Group, Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley Journal, and City of Pasadena Jackie Robinson Community Center.
The 13th Annual Young African American Women’s Conference Planning Committee was made up of a group of very committed community volunteers, led by the event Co-Chairs– Nicci Gorham and Debra Ward-Samad.