NEW KRU TOWN, Montserrado – In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 15th, members of the U.S.-based National Panhellenic Council, informally known as the “Divine Nine” participated in an evening of community service at Redemption Hospital located in the northwestern coastal suburb of Monrovia known as New Kru Town.
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, all historically Black Greek-lettered organizations, decided to honor King’s legacy of service to mankind by bringing joy to children currently undergoing treatment and observation at Redemption Hospital. The hospital is a 155-bed public facility providing free services to all patients in an area where many are low-income and are living in poverty.
Collaborating with the hospital leadership and specifically Manawin Horace, the nursing supervisor for the Pediatric Ward, the group held an afternoon of giving back to children.
“Liberian children don’t have many opportunities to just be children and play,” said Chiquita Johnson of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
The service event began with a few words of gratitude to the staff of the hospital for allowing them the time and space for the service project while also acknowledging the importance of helping each other in the current global arena.
“In a time where we have the head of state of a world superpower making disparaging remarks about our country and our continent, we are reminded today that those standing in the room today continue to work to prove him wrong,” said Freda Koomson of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
After opening remarks and introductions, the group presented a gift of diapers and baby formula to the ward for distribution to new mothers and then had an opportunity to tour the pediatric ward and malnutrition unit.
With gift bags filled with coloring books, crayons, baby dolls, and brightly colored mini footballs, the group provided an opportunity for children to smile despite their conditions. The children, despite their varied health conditions, were delighted when parents passed on items from the gift bags to them, with one child even standing at one point in his crib to kick the mini football he had just received.
Horace, the nursing supervisor, expressed her gratitude to the group.
Organizations of the National Panhellenic Council were established during a time when racial segregation limited the opportunities of African Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.