The graduate and undergraduate chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. put on a colorful fashion show while also educating the community about health disparities on Jan. 28.
The “Divine Nine Fashion Encore: Highlighting Health Disparities” event was held at the Kirkland W. Green Student Center on the campus of South Carolina State University.
“Divine Nine Fashion Encore highlighted health disparities in the Orangeburg community. This is the second year that we’ve had this program. We had the Divine Nine Fashion Debut last year, and it was so successful that we decided to keep it going each year,” said Hazel Rickenbacker, program chairperson.
The program featured presentations from the following representatives: Shiheda Furse, HopeHealth; London Knight, a former Miss SCSU who has lupus; Hetlena Johnson, Lupus Empowerment Foundation; Joyce Hudsons, Cancer Treatment of America; and Tia Lewis of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, South Carolina Chapter.
They highlighted the disparities that continue to exist in the areas of AIDS awareness, breast cancer, premature birth, lupus awareness and suicide awareness.
Following each of their presentations, members from each of the sororities and fraternities making up the Divine Nine put on a fashion show in the respective colors of each health issue.
“Our main focus at the beginning of each sorority year is to highlight initiatives, and we have sought to do that in a unique manner to hopefully engage our community and heighten awareness among citizens about health disparities,” Rickenbacker said.
“Everybody I know loves fashion so we decided to incorporate fashion in highlighting health disparities. We decided to try and incorporate all of the Divine Nine by inviting them to participate in this health initiative that we have, and they all agreed to participate wholeheartedly,” she said.
A red fashion appeal was made for AIDS awareness, while purple, orange and pink fashion appeals were made to highlight awareness of premature birth as addressed by the March of Dimes, lupus and suicide prevention, respectively.
The sororities and fraternities that make up the Divine Nine are Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma and Iota Phi Lambda.
The Silver Slippers provided entertainment for the event, which also included the spotlighting of surprise models, including the reigning Miss SCSU, Daijah Thibodeaux; Lander University freshman Raykala Edwards; and Derick Simons Jr., a sixth grade student at Howard Elementary School.
The grand finale featured members from each of the Divine Nine organizations modeling formal wear and participating in a mannequin challenge.