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Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Vicksburg chapter honors essential workers

The efforts of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic have done much to help communities survive and look toward a better post-pandemic future, the southeast regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority said.

“It is essential that we honor those who have worked tirelessly and selflessly during our global response to the pandemic,” AKA Southeastern Regional Director Mitzi Dease Paige of Jackson told members of Vicksburg’s Mu XI Omega Chapter of AKA during a virtual Founder’s Day program on March 7 observing the sorority’s 113th anniversary.

The event’s theme was “Caring is Essential: Mu Xi Omega Honors Essential Workers.”

“Caring is an essential part of Christian development; it is not only necessary that we come to aid others, but caring for others fulfills needs in others and us,” chapter president Ramona Warren said.

Mu Xi Omega awarded gift cards totaling $1,575 to 63 essential workers in Vicksburg and surrounding areas.

Each essential worker was nominated by chapter members and included the following categories: clergy, educators, first responders, government workers, health care providers, retail workers and small business owners.

“Over the past year our nation and the world have experienced so many changes,” Paige said. “We’ve had to adjust the way we have to do practically everything, from the way we have to leave our houses with our masks on and socially distance, to virtual learning and work (from home).

“There have been many challenges and many grief-filled moments but we continue to persevere. Perseverance is why we are gathered here today. Your theme ‘Caring is Essential’ is always timely. I’m honored to honor the care that our essential workers have extended month after month as we navigated the unknown paths and impact of COVID 19.”

Recalling Gov. Tate Reeves’ state of emergency declaration and the pressure the virus put on the state’s health care system, Paige said the pandemic’s effect on Mississippi showed that during such times of emergency “we know we won’t survive alone. We know more than ever how much we need one another; everyone. We have come this far by faith truly leaning on the Lord.”

Outlining the different careers providing service during the emergency — health care professionals, first responders, government officials, retail workers, clergy and service workers, Paige said, “We never would have made it without you.

“Thank you for your essential contribution to our shared wellness and outlook over the last year and beyond. Because you care, we have been able to make sense of this crisis.”

She said the services provided by essential workers reminded her of a line from a hymn “that is very dear and sacred to AKA women everywhere, ‘We help each other.’ Your service encourages me.

“We would not be where we are today, especially after the state of emergency if we did not help each other,” Paige said. “Caring for and helping one another is essential for us to both thrive and survive.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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